Monday, 20 August 2018

Photography & My Health

I thought I'd get a little bit more personal in this post. I'm not sure whether I've actually mentioned this in a post on this blog before, but I think I've mentioned it over on my Photography Instagram quite a while ago.

Five years ago last month, I was diagnosed with a Chronic Illness called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or M.E. It's a Neurological disease & there's no cure for it, hence for it being a chronic illness. It impacts every single thing I do or want to do & that includes my photography, as exercise & activity can cause the symptoms of the illness to worsen. This means I have to plan & pace out everything I want to do & have precautionary rest periods before an activity & also after to recover  - so I cannot do numerous things on consecutive days. Of course there is so much more to it but that is a basic overview, if you'd like to know more, feel free to send me a message with any questions, leave a comment below or head over to my other blog, Lo's Little Life as there is more information on there.

So like I said having M.E has impacted my Photography greatly. When I began to get more into photography again, it was motivated by the fact that most of my other hobbies where just too active for me to part take in anymore. But I felt that maybe I could make photography work within my new limitations.

Macro of McKay, one of my cats.

I started by simply using my phone to take photos of my days in & around the house & then when I was bought my Nikon D3200, {I have since upgraded to a D7200} I began using that too. Now I have always loved Landscape Photography but trying to practise that was proving a bit difficult & I realised that I needed to venture into other avenues of Photography, as having a creative outlet is definitely beneficial to my mental health.

In time I invested in a couple of new lenses, I opted for a Macro lens & a Telephoto one. I began to make use of my little garden & realised I absolutely loved Macro Photography! So on days when I feel okay enough, I pop into the garden with my Macro lens, now the Micro NIKKOR 85mm {my first one was the 60mm} & make photographs of the flowers & items in the garden. The best thing about this is that it means I can play & experiment without having to go off to find a location which I would really struggle to do now.

Gerbera Macro
Then if I'm having a day where I'm really unable to manage getting in the garden but feel okay enough to pick up my camera, then my Cats make the perfect subjects! I'll either use my 35mm, 50mm or if I want to get some more detailed photos of them, I'll use my 85mm Macro. Once the Cats get fed up of the Camera, {though a couple of them actually love having their photo taken} & I'm still feeling okay, I'll swap to my NIKKOR Telephoto 55-300mm & if there's birds in the garden, I'll grab a few shots of them from the window.

I do still try, my health allowing of course, to go to my local beach & get some Landscape & Sunset photographs but those trips, {though I'm only a 10 minute drive from the coast} mean I have to make sure I get plenty of rest before hand & have nothing else going on that same week. I also still love using my phone to take photos & the camera on my iPhone 8 plus is just lovely, especially in portrait mode! This also means I don't have to leave my bed if I don't want to to take a few images of my surroundings & it helps me to document my life living with a chronic illness.

First Photograph taken in Portrait Mode on my iPhone 8 Plus

I think that is one of the things I love about Photography: it can be adapted to your given situation. You can make it work for you. Due to the limits on my energy supplies, I try to make every hit of the shutter button count. I take my time & really think about how I want the image to look & always try to get it right in camera rather than capturing anything & relying on the editing afterwards.

Also like I said, it can be such a benefit to your mental health as a creative outlet. Even though it can have a negative impact on my physical health, I've found that even the post processing stage is beneficial {though I only do minor tweaks} & helps me remember that the few days in bed recovering were worth it. It also helps me cope on the worse days, looking back at images I've taken or reading through comments on my Instagram really does give me a little boost!

Sunset at the Beach

To me Photography is such a special thing & to be able to make it work within my limitations, is something I'm so very grateful for!

I'd love know what Photography means to you? Has it helped you find an outlet for a mental or physical health condition? Leave me a comment below to share your story if you want to.

Take care everyone,


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Monday, 2 July 2018

AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR - My Thoughts

I've been using my Micro* NIKKOR 85mm for a few months now & I thought I'd share my thoughts. I will say for the record that I'm not an expert on camera lenses in anyway, so don't expect this to be too technical, it's just my overall thoughts of the lens in general. Also I am a photographer not a videographer so I won't be mentioning any of the video features within this post.

{*Micro is Nikon for Macro}

I already own the AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED lens & absolutely loved it but I was after something that could give me even more detail & enable me to get closer to my subjects. After doing a bit of hunting online & reading reviews & comments, I settled on the Micro NIKKOR 85mm. I did also consider the Micro NIKKOR 105mm but it is double the price of the 85mm... one day maybe! But since I'm on a APS-C sensor the lens focal length goes up to about 127mm {crop factor 85mm x 1.5}

While this is technically a Macro lens, I've found it quite versatile & gives a nice result even when you're not wanting to be so close to your subject, it would probably make a nice portrait lens although that's not what I'm using it for, unless you count taking photographs of cats as portraits!

Now for the sort of technical information as I'm sure you'd like to know some of the specifications*:

  • Minimum Aperture: f/22
  • Maximum Aperture: f/3.5
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 0.286m/0.9ft
  • Filter Attachment: 52mm
  • Lens Construction: 14 Elements in 10 Groups {with on ED Glass Element}
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9 {rounded}
  • Weight: Approximately 355g/12.5oz.
  • Diameter & Length: Approximately 73 x 98.5mm/2.9 x 3.9in.
*taken from the Nikon website.

The lens features Nikon's Vibration Reduction technology, which helps stabilise your hand held shots, a feature I find so helpful & really a must for me as I mainly shoot hand held but have quite shaky hands at times.

Another nice feature in the lens is the Silent Wave Motor, this means the lens provides fast & quiet internal autofocusing, it also gives the lens a nice switch over to manual & the focus ring is lovely & smooth to use in this mode. It also has a Super Integrated Coating which helps to eliminate ghosting & lens flare.

Okay now the specs & features are just about covered, I'm sure you're wondering how the lens is to actually use. Well I've found it nice & straight forward to use on my Nikon D7200 & there's no limited function as the lens is optimised for DX Cameras. {Nikon's CPS-C Sensor cameras} The autofocus modes work well, though sometimes it can take it a little bit to focus on your subject & it rolls back & forth now & then. Sometimes this was purely my fault as I was getting that bit too close to my subject but other times the camera was just taking its sweet time to figure out what it actually wanted to look at! Obviously shooting in manual mode eliminates this, but, if like me, you switch between the two, it's something to just be aware of if you're in auto mode.

I don't shoot for majorly long periods of time, {for reasons that will be saved for another post I'm planning} my time limit is usually around 30 minutes & in that time I don't feel like the lens plus my Nikon D7200 feel too heavy & I have shaky, weak hands at times. Though I don't think the weight of the two would really be an issue if you were using all day. I've also used my MeFOTO Roadtip Tripod & there's no lens dip {if you use heavy telephoto lenses you know what I mean} due to it's weight.

So I guess I should share some the photographs I've made using this wonderful lens, because I'm sure that's what you're all waiting for {I know its the first thing I like to see when checking out lenses}

The first photographs I took with this lens were of my cats, because if you follow my photography Instagram you know I'm a bit of a crazy cat lady who loves using a Macro lens for getting those cat photos!

Aperture: f/4.0  Shutter Speed:1/10  ISO: 800

I was really pleased with how the shots came out & thankfully my cats are all use to the camera, so weren't too bothered to have it quite close to them. I've been after a lens that could pick up even more detail in the cat's fur & eyes & personally I feel the 85mm does this really well.

I then headed off into the garden to test out the lens. Again I wasn't disappointed, the lens did really well with everything I pointed it at. I even managed to grab a shot of one of the Frogs in the pond. I'm not going to say all the shots were super sharp because they weren't & that was more me than the lens I feel as it was my first time using it for flower/nature photography.

Aperture: f/5.6  Shutter Speed: 1/500 ISO: 800

Aperture: f/4.8  Shutter Speed:1/350  ISO: 400 EV; -1

Aperture: f/4.8 Shutter Speed: 1/500  ISO: 400 EV: -1

As I said at the beginning of the post, this lens is really versatile & I was nicely surprised with the shots I captured by simply standing under my Japanese Maple Tree & pointing it upward, something I like to do with my NIKKOR 35mm lens. As you can see you can get a nice bokeh with them lens when you this.

Aperture: f/8.0  Shutter Speed:1/1000 ISO: 400

As I predominantly shoot in Monochrome, it was to good to see that in this mode, the photographs still looked great & the tones where nice & even. The same is true in all of the colour modes, even in Vivid mode, which is my colour mode of choice, it doesn't look like someone has put the saturation option to 100! 

So overall, the AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR is a really great lens for photography; especially if you are part of the Nikon family & wanting to delve into Macro photography more & want a decent, reasonably priced lens, it's currently about £400 on the official Nikon U.K. Store Website  It was about £60 more when I purchased it {in March} from Wilkinson Camera {my usual go to for camera stuff}, it's now just under £390. There's also a cash back offer going on with Nikon at Wilkinson right now so go check them out if you're in the U.K. {Nikon & Wilkinson are just my preference for kit & information, there are plenty of other great camera shops that you will be able to get this lens from.}

If you have this lens then please leave me a comment below telling me what you think of it or if you have any other recommendations regarding Macro photography that would help me to improve. If you have any questions about the information in this post or one everything else on my blog, then feel free to send me an email via the "Contact Me" box in the side bar & I'll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.

I hope everyone is doing well & having fun with their cameras.

Take care,


Friday, 23 March 2018

No Photography Show

I know some of you will be waiting for my post telling you all about my time at The Photography Show. I was all packed ready to go, but late last Thursday night, due to unforeseen circumstances, I made the decision not to head to the show. Though looking at what the weather was like in Birmingham, I think it was a blessing as I don't fair well in snow!

Even though I wasn't at the show, a couple of my photographs were: One of them is featured in Phot-R's catalogue which you could pick up at the show & the other was part of Loxley Colour's The People Gallery & my lovely Twitter friend send me a photo of it! I should be receiving my Alumini from the gallery in the next week or so.

Now when I was planning my trip to the show, I made a little list of the items & stands I wanted to check out & the odd things I wanted to purchase. So as I was unpacking on Friday, I decided I wasn't going to let the fact that I wasn't attending the show stop me from treating myself to the items I'd planned on buying while there. Thank goodness for online shopping!

First stop on my little online shopping trip was FujiFilm to order my "treat" item - a Instax Mini 90 Polaroid Camera.

Instax Mini 90

The camera comes with 10 colour Polaroid films but I also bought 2 double packs of colour film & 4 packs of Monochrome film as I mostly shoot in monochrome with my DSLR, so I wanted to have this option with the Polaroid. So in total I have 50 colour film sheets & 40 monochrome ones. The film is really easy to insert into the camera & the few photos I have already taken with it have been good quality. I started out on film, so it's nice to be dipping my toe back into it. I do also have my Dad's 40 year old Olympus film SLR, which I want to try & find film for to see if it still works!

Polaroid Films

As with most cameras, it comes with a nice strap that is easy to fit & I also got myself a case so my camera will be protected. The case for the Mini 90 is really good quality & is two cases in one; the front part of the case clips off, leaving the bottom part on to protect the bottom of the camera.

Case & Strap

Now for the essential items... I have three drawers {yes three!} for all things Camera & tech related, this includes all the cables & chargers for said cameras & tech. Try as I might, I can never make them look neat & tidy for very long as those cable seem to have a mind of their own! So I've been meaning to get myself a few cable management pouches for quite a while. I spied out the ones I wanted on Wilkinson Camera but sadly they were out of stock, so I headed to Snapper Stuff's website instead & managed to find them on there.

Think Tank Cable Management 20 & 30 both V2.0

I have to give Snapper Stuff a big shout out as their delivery time was incredibly fast! I ordered these on Tuesday & they arrived on Wednesday! I'm hoping to get all my cables organised over the weekend. I had also ordered a Think Tank pouch for my Apple product chargers but sadly it was out of stock & so Snapper Stuff kindly sent me a MindShift pouch, which arrived about an hour ago. {hence no photo}  It comes with 3 of the same ties as the Think Tank pouches & even though technically it's for a GoPro charger, it fits two of my Apple chargers perfectly; actually my 3DS even fits in it, which is good to know for when I'm traveling anywhere & want to take my 3DS with me!

So those were my "No Photography Show" purchases. I also wanted to look out for a 2TB Hard Drive as a back up to my WD My Passport one. I was thinking of getting another WD one but if you have any recommendations, then please do leave me a comment below.

I also originally had a Macro lens on my list of show purchases, but I decided to buy that a few weeks ago from Wilkinson Cameras instead of getting it at the show. I'll do a post about it once I've used it a bit more.

I hope everyone that made it to the show had a great time. I was sad I didn't make it, but I enjoyed catching up on what was going on via a few people I follow on Social Media. Since I've missed this show, I might go to Digital Splash later in year since it's actually closer for me to travel to & I'm in the process of sorting out entries to the Digital Splash Awards. I made the shortlist last year in one of the categories & would love to try again this year. I also have the Amateur Photographer of the Year on my radar to enter a few categories of as well.

So hopefully seeing my little purchases will sort of make up for no write up on the Photography Show itself.

Take care everyone,


Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Photography Show - The kit I'm taking.

Since I'll be heading off to The Photography Show this Friday, I thought I'd put together a little post to show you the Camera kit I take with me. I'm not at the show in any official capacity, so what I take it purely for me to take photographs around the show, hotel & the area near the NEC.

Nest Roller Case:

I purchased my roller case last year at the show & it has been such blessing & piece of mind for me when I travel further a field with my camera & multiple lenses as it gives great protection to my kit. I didn't want something too big & when I came across this case, I thought it would fit my needs perfectly & it didn't break the bank!

Nest Roller Case

It has plenty of extra pockets & compartments along with the partition sections for housing my camera gear. Each partition has velcro sides so they can be moved to fit the size of the lens I need it to hold. There's a pocket on the inside which easily fits either a laptop or in my case, my iPads Pro & Air 2 {I'll be leaving my Mac at home}.  It has a Tripod strap so if I was taking my Tripod, I wouldn't have to grow an extra arm to carry it & each zip has a little "tag" on it which makes it easier to use. I also love the bright orange inside of the case as this makes seeing my kit easy {we've all had those black lined bags that our kit seems to go missing in!}


Nikon D7200

My camera of choice is my trusty Nikon D7200 which I'll have had for exactly a year on Friday as I traded in my old faithful Nikon D3200 at last years show. I'll obviously be taking it's charger along with a spare battery & as it has 2 SD Card slots, I'll have my Eyefi  32GB card & a Sandisk 16GB card with me. These are the main cards I use & I especially love the Eyefi as at the end of each day I can transfer my photographs to my iPad Pro to look over as the card has it's own wifi. I know my D7200 can do that too via it's own wifi, but I find the Eyefi app easier to use that the Nikon app.


My Glass

The lenses I'm taking are my 18-55mm kit lens, 35mm lens & 55-300mm. These are my favourite "everyday lenses."

The 55-300mm lives on my camera body as I use it to take photographs of the Starlings that live in the roof of my house. I take this lens mainly for if I am able to have some time photographing the area of wood behind the hotel I stay in & the lake in front of the NEC.

The 35mm I use for around the hotel as the one I stay in has some very photogenic features to it, especially in the lobby & I've found that the 35mm is great at capturing them!

Lastly the humble 18-55mm kit lens, which I feel can sometimes be underestimated. This is my lens of choice for capturing scenes around the show. It gives me the option of a nice wide shot or a more zoomed in one. It's also nice & light which is plus when you have to carry it around all day!


Lenspen & Spare Battery Case

I know I said above that I'll have a spare battery with me, but I wanted to just mention that it's being kept safe inside it's fairly new home - the Think Tank Battery/SD Card holder. I don't know why it's taken me so long to get one of these but I absolutely love it! It fits the battery with it's cap on nicely & just gives that extra bit of protection.

Last but certainly not least, I'll be taking my trusty Lenspen with me. If you've never come across one of these, then I urge you to invest in one! It's such a great little tool to keep your lenses & camera body nice & clean, with it's soft brush at one end & pad at the other. It definitely makes the task of cleaning your kit not much of a task at all!

So there we have it, that's what will be with me this weekend. I've also got my show tickets & N-Photo show guide in one of the pockets of my case already so I don't forget them!

I was thinking of taking my 50mm prime with me but I favour the 35mm over it, controversial I know! There's so many photographers that love their "Nifty Fifty" & I do really like the quality of the shots I make with mine, but I always find myself reaching for my 35mm more than my 50mm {maybe it's just the type of photography I do that suits the 35mm better} when I'm shooting around the house & garden.

Are you going to The Photography Show? Let me know in the comments below what you're looking forward to while you're there. If anyone is going, have a fabulous time & maybe I'll see you there!

Take care,


Monday, 5 March 2018

Photowall - Review *Sponsored Content*

This blog post is brought to you today in association with Photowall. I was contacted by them & asked if I'd be interested in working with them on a blog post. After checking out their website & the products they offer, I agreed & as a thank you, they have kindly given me a 20% discount code for all of you, my lovely readers!

You're probably wondering who Photowall are & what they do? Well let me tell you...

Photowall are a Swedish company with a passion for design & quality. They offer a choice of wall murals / wallpapers {a great option if you're wanting to add a personal touch when you're decorating your living or work space!} & Canvas Prints. All are environmentally friendly, fire-retardant & won't fade in the sunlight, which is a great as there's nothing more annoying than sun bleached wallpaper or wall art! The printing ink they use contains no solvents or hazardous chemicals, & is biodegradable.

They can create unique, inspiring wall d├ęcor & work with talented photographers & designers from around the world. They also offer you the opportunity to use your own photographs to make your wallpaper or canvas print even more personal. Photowall also work with licensed brands & are an official partner for Disney, Modesty Blaise, Moomin Characters & others. So they're the place to go if you want to have for your favourite film star on your wall!

They use cutting-edge digital printing techniques to guarantee quality & precision on all their products. Customer service is also a priority & they aim to give their customers the best service they can!

Photowall also work with an organisation called Vi Agroforestry who are an Swedish aid organisation. Every year they plant 5,000 trees in the area around Lake Victoria in Eastern Africa. The trees help to fight poverty, improve the environment & combat climate change. So by shopping with Photowall, you are supporting Vi Agroforestry & doing your bit for the planet, which is pretty awesome!

So now you know a little bit more about them, I'm going to walk you through placing an order with them. Photowall kindly offered me a free canvas of one of my own photographs for working with them, so I'm able to give you a full honest review from start to finish; how the order process works & what the quality of the finished product is like.

Let's get started:

1} First thing you need to do is head to & then select either the flag of your country or the little globe for "Rest of the World" if your flag isn't listed.

Photowall Homepage

2} Now you choose your product type by either clicking on "Wall Murals" or "Canvas Prints" & then selecting either "Categories" or "Custom"  - I chose "Canvas Print" & then "Custom"

  • "Categories" will show you all the photographs you can choose from, split into different themes including "Animals", "Landscapes" & "Film, TV & Cartoon" 
  • "Custom" takes you to a page where you can upload your own image - which is the option I chose.
  • You also have the option of choosing either "Designers" "Rooms" or "Colours" which allows you to search & view images via these options.

3} If you chose to use your own image, now is the time to choose the photograph you want to use & upload it. You do this by simply clicking "Select You Image" & then "Upload" 
  • When doing this, remember the bigger the pixel count, the better the quality. A good guideline is that the image must have at least 1 pixel for every millimetre of the wall mural or canvas.
  • If you go to the "Price Calculation" tab in the box on this page, you can play with the product size you want & see how much this will cost.

4} Next you will work your way through the following 5 Steps:

  • "How do you want to order" - Choose "Order direct" if you don't have any special requests for your image. If you need some more help like colour correction, adding or removing an object, changing proportions or anything else you want doing to your image, choose "Personal assistance please" You then leave your contact details with what you want doing & someone will get back to you, usually within 1-2 business working days. ***Please note there is a charge of £36 per hour for this service but only if they do any editing, queries are free to send.***
  • "Framing" - either choose "With a do-it-yourself frame" or "Canvas only" The canvas doesn't come fully assembled, as there is a risk of it being damaged in transit. So if you want your canvas to hang on the wall, it suggests including a 29mm frame that you then fit to your canvas print. I chose to have the frame.
  • "Edge" - this gives you the option of either having your canvas image wrapped {your image continues around the sides of the canvas} or alternatively you can have either a black or white edge. I chose image wrapped.
  • "Your dimensions" - This is where you choose the size of your canvas. You can change the measurement to inches if you don't like working in centimetres. What's nice is that, as you play around with the sizing, you can see it applied to your picture & where it would be cropped & where the edging would be. This helps you choose the best size to show off your image. Mine looked best at 100cm x 50cm & I only lost a bit of the sky.
  • "Crop as required" - This brings up your image full screen so you can get a closer look at where the image would be cropped, based on the size you have chosen. You can then move the marked out red box to choose how you want the final image to be cropped ready to be printed onto the canvas.
Once you've double checked that all the options you have chosen are correct, just click "Add to Cart" & you're almost done!

Adjusting the canvas size.

5} On the "Your Cart" page, under the details of your order & the price, you'll find a clickable link that allows you to add a discount or gift card code. Here's where you can enter the 20% discount code I've been given for you all: 
  • My 20% discount code is: LoPhotoCampaign2018 {The code is only available for 30 days, so you need to place your order by the 5th of April}
  • Make sure "Private Customer" is selected {unless you're a Business of course, then choose "Business Customer" or "Contract Customer"}
  • You can also tick or untick the box to decide if you want to receive emails from Photowall telling you about any offers & the like.
Once that's done, simply click on "Proceed to checkout".

6} The next page is "Confirm your order" This is where you need to add in your billing address, name, phone number & email.
  • If your delivery address is different to your billing one, just select "Other delivery address" & add in the address you want your product sending.
Once you've doubled check your details, click "Proceed to payment"

7} As my canvas is free I was taken straight to the final order confirmation page. But all you'll need to do is add in your payment details & then complete your order.
  • You can pay either with Visa, MasterCard or Paypal.

8} That's it! You'll receive an email confirming your order & then another one once your order has been dispatched to you.
  • European orders are free & will take between 3 - 6 business days. The orders are delivered by DB Schenker
  • The Rest of the World takes 2 - 6 business days & there is a charge ranging from €19 - €49. These orders are delivered by DHL Express.

I placed my order very late on a Friday night, received my confirmation email & then received my dispatch email on the Monday. My canvas arrived on the Thursday, which I was really surprised at due to the incredibly bad weather that's going on in mainland Europe & the UK right now! So from ordering to delivery took 4 working days & the canvas arrived well packaged in a sturdy box, so it's very protected in transit.

As the canvas doesn't come with the frame already fitted, you'll need to do a little bit of "D.I.Y" & fit the frame to the canvas. There are instructions included on how to do this, along with all the brackets & screws you'll need. Photowall also have a handy tutorial video on Youtube to help with this.
You can watch the video here or simply search Photowall on Youtube.

Now let me just say for the record that I'm not the biggest fan of canvases for wall art as you can often see the texture of the canvas material through the image that's been printed on them & I find that distracted from the image itself. Photowall's canvas is completely different! It's incredibly high quality & as it's 100% cotton, it feels lovely. The print is stunning, my photograph hasn't lost any of the detail I captured & you can barely see the texture of the canvas as it's so smooth! The only tiny little issue was a couple of loose threads from where the canvas had been cut to size but these were easily sorted by cutting them off. 

As for putting the frame together, my Dad actually did this as I'm an even less D.I.Y person than he is! As he said; "If I can do it, anyone can!" It's that straight forward! Having the Youtube video in addition to the instructions was very helpful, especially as my Dad said he prefers to watch tutorial videos rather than use written instructions.

From helping my Dad fix the frame to the canvas, I recommend taking your time as it's important to make sure that each part of the frame is straight & flush to the edge of the canvas as once stuck down, it would be very hard to take off again. Not rushing, it took less than 30 minutes.

The main tip from my Dad; Peel the tape from the frame pieces carefully! Part of the glue from the tape came away on one of the edges, which wasn't a major issue as the part of the canvas it effected was one of the corner pieces that fits between two sides of the frame so once the frame was completed, you couldn't tell.

It's nice & sturdy so it can stand up without falling yet it's lightweight, which means you're not having to struggle with it being heavy while you're hanging it on the wall with the provided bracket. Okay sure having to fit the frame onto the canvas can seem like a bit of a faff but it went together well & with no issues other than the tape not peeling quite right on the first piece - but that's more of a tape issue that an issue with the frame.

One of the aims of any photographer {well for me anyway} when they are looking to display their work is to find a product that will really show off the image they have captured & to find a company that takes as much care in printing & producing that product as the photographer has put into the making of said image. I feel I've found that with Photowall. Honestly, I'm such a big critic of my work & when I see my images printed or framed, I find myself scrutinising it, looking for ways I might make it better. But the quality of the print job on this canvas makes my photograph look incredible & as such I found it hard to pick up on anything I didn't like.

Overall, my impressions of Photowall & their canvas are excellent & I'm not just saying that because they're sponsoring this post & have sent me a canvas to review. I can honestly say that Photowall make top quality canvases & I think they may have converted me into a canvas lover! So I really do recommend them if you're thinking of getting a new piece of wall art or you're redecorating & after some unique wallpaper. Plus if you do buy from them you'll have the nice bonus of 20% off if you use my discount code: LoPhotoCampaign2018 {valid for 30 days; 5th March - 5th April}

Please let me know if you do use the code & order a canvas or wall mural from Photowall, I'd love to know what you think of them. Also if you have any queries or questions regarding the order process or want more details on the canvas or photograph, please feel free to either leave me a comment on this post, tweet me or email me.

All done & on the wall!

I hope you are all as well as can be & keeping warm in this incredibly cold weather.

Take care,


Friday, 26 January 2018

How I Instagram

I always enjoy scrolling through Instagram & checking out other photographers galleries. I love each how photographer builds their gallery, some seem to have a theme & others just post what they shoot without considering if the next photograph will go with the one before & it just works.

When I started my Photography Instagram, I just uploaded my favourite shots, not following any theme, pretty much like my personal account. Then while completing my project for my course, I found I really enjoyed the process of putting photographs together along a theme, to tell a story.

So I began to implement this into my Instagram & here's how...

1} 1 Row = 1 Gallery.

For me, instead of having an overall feed theme {thats a tongue twister!}, I decided viewing each row of three posting spots was more beneficial. Each row is like it's own little gallery.

An Instagram Album helps keep your future posts organised.

2} Theme Within The Gallery

I know I said I don't have a feed theme, but, in order to show each row is its own little gallery, the group of three photographs need to be cohesive.

3} Choosing Photographs

Once I'm done with the post processing stage of my work flow, I then go back through my shots & begin to look for ones that will go well side by side. One example of how I do this is say I've been in my garden taking photos. Instead of just choosing three different shots, I'll section these into groups of the different flowers or garden items I've captured. From there I'll choose my three shots & add them into my "Instagram" Album.

4} Do They Go Together?

Finally, I double check the chosen shots in my "Instagram" album, as I can see them side by side before I post them. This when I also swap out a photograph for another one if I feel they don't look right together.

Sneak Peak of my Instagram posts!

5} 1 Row + 1 Gallery = 1 Feed!

Even though I treat each row as it's own gallery, with its own little theme, because I post each set of three from a day where I'm capturing similar shots, they work well together. When I'm posting images from different days, the change in the theme, for example garden shots to cat photographs helps to break up my gallery.

6} Black & White Or Colour

Since I predominately shoot in Monochrome, my Instagram is mainly a monochrome filled gallery. However, I do feel some scenes call for colour & so to help break up my gallery, I will post a set of three in colour.

7} Posting Your Set of Three

Once I have my set of three photographs, I then post them through the day, giving about 4 hours between each post. I struggle at times with a caption & I usually end up rambling about my day. I also add in brackets 1, 2. or 3 of 3, depending on which photograph I'm posting.

My instagram Gallery

8} #Hashtags

If you're using Instagram to get your work seen, hashtags can really help. Choosing the right ones can go a long to promoting your account & photography. I have a set of hashtags I use for every post I do {I copy & paste them on each post} Adding ones that photography companies who feature a photographers work use, is a good place to start. This has paid off for me a couple of times, the most recent of which being a lovely feature from Jessops!

So there you have it, that's how I Instagram. If you'd like to check out my account {link below} to see the result of all the above steps, then please have a nosey & tell me what you think.

If you have any other tips or tricks in using Instagram to show case your photography then please feel free to leave a comment below.

I've also just added a few new images for sale on my website. The link is below if you'd like to check them out & maybe you'll find something to spruce up the walls of your home.

Take care,


Friday, 12 January 2018

Kitchen Table Studio

I came across the concept of a "Kitchen Table Studio" when I was doing my photography specialisation a couple of years ago. The basic idea is to turn your kitchen table {or dining room, as in my case} into a mini photo studio.

One of my professors set up a white cloth background & used little lump cubes as extra light sources & then set his camera up on a tripod. In his demonstration he photographed a few products, but you could use this set up for any type of photography you wanted. You can also vary the kit you use & go all out with different lights, colour backgrounds or maybe you'd prefer a more minimal set up, just your subject, your camera & maybe a back ground or small light source.

Table, iPhone 8 Plus Torch & Plants.

On Tuesday I decided to venture into the garden to take a few photos, something I've not done for a little while. however, it was so cold & the breeze wasn't helping the fact I wanted some Macro shots. I took a few shots & then I'd had enough of battling the wind & cold, so I picked a couple of Hydrangea petals, a sprig of Crocosmia & a Lily Seed Pod, all of which had seen better days.

I put them on my dining room table & decided to take my photographs there. Although I have soft boxes, one of which I use as a light for my room, I just turned on the ceiling light. My background was one of our black placemats, which I held in my left hand. I also have a tripod but I decided to stick with my usual handheld approach. I like to move around when I take photos, especially when my subject can't move, moving around also encourages you to change up your vantage points & try new angles.

Hydrangea Petal Veins

So I began to play with how close I held my background placemat, how much light I allowed on my subject, how it looked with the plant in silhouette & how sharp the shadows were. Playing with the angles & vantage points, even using a chair to try a "birds eye view" shot. As I was playing around with the Hydrangea petals, I realised when the light was behind them, you could see through them & seen all the veins & little sections they split into. So I grabbed my iPhone 8 Plus & turned on the torch. I lent it against the back of one of the chairs & used it to back light the petals & I also used this light source to make the shadows even crisper.

I am predominantly a black and white photographer, shooting in monochrome more than colour & doing conversions. However, I did switch a little bit to a colour setting as I was taking photographs of the Lily Seed Pods as I notices the light from my iPhone torch was picking up a golden tone from them even though the looked quite black.

Crocosmia Silhouette 

Overall I spent about an hour at the most playing around with my minimal "Kitchen Table Studio" & going through the shots later, I was really happy with how a number of the shots came out. I had a lot to go through but throughout Wednesday I checked & minimally post processed them. My first attempt at a "Kitchen Table Studio" went well, even if I did have a minimal approach to it. This type of photography set up is something I definitely want to do more often & I think will really help with a couple of projects I want to give a go in the future.

See Through Petal

Have you tried this "Kitchen Table Studio" set up? What kit did you use & what was your photography subject? Do you have any tips on how I can improve my set up {other than using my soft box & background} Please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.

On a side note, I'll not only be posting a selection of the shots to my Instagram in the coming weeks be adding my favourites to the "Macro Magic" gallery on my website & making them available to buy, so be sure to keep an eye on the site. {link below} If you follow me on Instagram & love a photograph I've posted & would like to buy it, just leave me a comment on the post & I'll add it to the site for you.

I hope you're all doing well & the cold weather isn't hampering your photography.

Take care,


Website: Lo Elizabeth Photography

Monday, 1 January 2018

Photography Website Launch

I have a Photography Website!

Home Page

I've been toying with the idea of setting up my own photography website & selling my work for quite a while. Over this past year, I have been researching which website provider would be best for me & which printing labs they used. I even picked up information on a couple of them while at The Photography Show back in March. However, I didn't do this sooner simply because I wasn't sure if anyone would want to buy my work & don't take this as a lack of confidence in my work, but more in myself as I have only been taking my photography seriously for the past couple of years & wasn't sure if I was on the same level as all the pro photographers out there!

Uploading Photographs

Then last month I posted a photograph on my personal Instagram & one of my friends asked if they could buy a print of it. This really boosted my self confidence as I realised that people might like some of my work enough to want a copy of it. So I began to plan out my site; how I would like it look & feel, what photographs might be good to have for sale & also the cost of it all.

I finally settled on Smug Mug as my provider for a few reasons but the main one is that the print lab they use for the UK is Loxley Colour & I've been using them for almost three years now. Their products are good quality & their delivery time is brilliant so I wanted to make sure that if I was to start selling that I could still use them as I know that my customers would be getting great quality products. My discount via being an N-Photo subscribe was a nice bonus!

So last week I signed up to Smug Mug & began to build my website. I wanted something that was fuss free & clean looking. I remembered at a Pro Photographer Masterclass I attended that a couple of photographers mentioned that they had their sites set up to look very similar to Instagram in how the photographs were presented, it gives the site a familiar feel. So I decided to go for a similar look myself & I really like how it's turned out as the photographs are nice & easy to view.

Key wording - A necessary but long job.

I've found Smug Mug really straight forward to use as they section each element you can add into "Content Blocks" so you just simply add the blocks you want & tweak them to how you want them to look. Adding photographs to the galleries is quick too, with a drag & drop facility, the only long job I've found was adding keywords to the photographs once they're in the gallery.

I was also very impressed with their customer service, not long after I'd signed up I received an email from one of their team introducing themselves which was lovely & when I contacted them regarding a price list query, they were very quick to get back to me, despite the time difference {they're based in the US}.

Overall I'm really happy with how my site looks & I'm even happier that I've decided to give selling my work a go!


If you'd like to have a look at my site, then please click the link below:

Lo Elizabeth Photography

I'd love any feed back you have on the site. I've tried to add a nice selection of different types of photography for sale, ranging from Macro to Landscape. I plan to go through my catalogue of photographs & add more as time goes on but I think what I have on there is a good starting point.

I want to thank you all so much for all the support you've given me this past year, especially over on Instagram & Twitter. I hope this coming year is a good one for you all!

Take care,