Learning From Others – July Edition

As the learning from others section of the blog enters it’s second month we speak to 5 talented photographers. It is always great to hear about what goes into capturing a single image.

Read the stories below…

Cameryn Wilkins – @camerynwilkinsphoto

My name is Cameryn Wilkins and I own Cameryn Wilkins Photography based in Magnolia, Texas!

I first fell in love with photography at the age of 18 and started my business the same year. At 20 I closed my business due to wanting to focus solely on school. Now at 21, I’m still attending college and awaiting to get my degree soon. I am now 2 weeks into starting my photography business again and it feels absolutely amazing! Especially in 2020!

I specialize in Weddings, Couples, Families, Seniors, Kids, and hopefully to expand into boudoir in the near future.

Goals

My goals in photography are to meet new people and travel to new places. My favorite part about photography is seeing my clients reactions when I send them their photos and hearing how much they love them. Just to create those life-long memories for them alone is a blessing within itself. 

The Shot

The image I chose to showcase to you is one of a couple that I was very fortunate to meet. Their names are LeighAnn and Justin. LeighAnn and Justin met by attending Texas Tech University. They describe that when they met at one of the first football games being held, they just knew instantly that they were meant to be. Being apart of this shoot with them truly showed me how much love their relationship holds. This shoot was filled with so many laughs, jokes, and some funny falls that ended in more laughter. They shared with me how they didn’t know what true love was until they met, and will soon be celebrating their 2 year anniversary. Specifically, I chose this picture of them because I love how intimate the picture feels when you just look into their eyes.

I prepared this photo by having both clients stand very close and pressing the side of their faces together while simultaneously looking into the camera. Originally, I saw this photo idea on Pinterest and had to give it a shot for myself and was ecstatic to have LeighAnn and Justin be my first couple to do this type of photo with me.

My camera settings were set to:

Shutter Speed: 1/2000

Aperture: f2.2

ISO: 400

I edited this shot by bringing the contrast to -38, highlights -12, shadows +40, whites +58, blacks -22, temperature +12, clarity +14, green hue -100, green saturation -42, green luminance -46, yellow hue -40, yellow saturation -20, yellow luminance +23, and orange saturation +5.

Thanks so much for reading. You can check out my portfolio on my website here

Tom Whitton – @tomxwhitton 

I’m a passionate, enthusiastic Photographer from Leeds, UK. I love Photography simply for capturing them perfect moments and showing the world my stories. I’ve being into Photography for just over 2 years now and my future goal is to make a career out of doing what I love. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do growing up and never did until I picked up a camera.

The Photo

This is probably one of my favourite photos, simply because of the struggles I had to overcome to capture it. It was cold, dark, chucking it down with rain and I was out capturing street photography for well over 4 hours by this point. I’ve seen the follow/pan shot on Instagram a numerous amount of times and I wanted to recreate it for myself. It’s a lot harder then I imagined as you have to match the speed of the object.

I must have being at this one location for around 10 minutes, just fiddling with the settings and trying to get the best image I could, but it just wasn’t working out. My hands were cold, the rain was ruining my camera and I was just tired. I put my camera away but realised my lens cap was in my pocket, I got my camera back out and just as I put my lens cap on a police car came flying up the road, It was still on the same settings as before so I just prayed that I could nail it, I followed the car all the way up the street to the last second to try and match the speed and then, snap…. 

Camera settings:
Focal length – 50mm
Shutter speed – 1/6
F/2.8
ISO – 100 

The Edit

Adobe Lightroom –  As I was sat in post I knew exactly how I wanted the colours, an over exhadurated blue tone to match the Police car.

If you could credit my Instagram that would be amazing – https://www.instagram.com/tomxwhitton/

Craig Pitts – @craigpittsTV

Hi readers of the blog, I’m Craig, a freelance photographer, content creator and bit of a visual vagabond!

I’ve been taking photographs seriously for around six years now and my interest in the art of photography started with wanting to get better travel photos.

These days People & Places make up the majority of my images and a lot of my work centres around drama, mood and contrast.

I also run a YouTube channel that centres around photography missions, travel vlogs and the creative lifestyle and my goal with all of this is to make it my full-time career.

When PhotographyTalking asked me to write a blog post on my favourite image, at first I didn’t know where to start, I’ve taken a lot of images that I love and that remind me of cool experiences and times in my life, however I settled on one with a slightly more extreme story behind it, one that I genuinely risked my life to get.

Risking my life for an image

That image is of an “underground car cave,” a bizarre but amazing scene deep in an abandoned mineshaft somewhere in North Wales.

As you can see by the image, the uniqueness of this shot is not only due to the strange and unknown reason as to why there are a bunch of old cars stacked on top of eachother underground but also because of the shaft of light that perfectly highlights and draws your attention to the blue car.

A mate had shown me a video where a bunch of urban explorers had visited this underground car cave and I knew I wanted to go there and get the shot myself, but I literally had no idea what I was letting myself in for.

The first challenge was finding out exactly where this hidden gem was.

I managed to get the location from a contact who’s also an urban explorer. He warned me of the dangers as I nonchalantly thought to myself it’d be fine and we set off in hunt of this elusive image.

Once we finally found the place, the second and most dangerous challenge in taking the shot was getting down the mineshaft itself to the shooting location. As you’ll see if you watch the accompanying vlog, it was incredibly dark, wet, claustraphobic and down right stupid that we had no safety equipment and minimal climbing experience.

Setting up the shot was very tricky. As it was so dark down there, I had to use trial and error to get a composition I liked, essentially taking test shot after test shot making tweaks to the composition until I was happy with it.

As for the composition I went for a basic rule of thirds and was helped out by the fact that shaft of light instantly draws you into the scene and highlights the focal point of the image with the negative space on the right of the frame giving the image some depth.

To focus I shone a torch on the focal point (the blue car) and used manual focus and focus peaking to ensure it was in focus.

My settings for the final image were as follows:

Camera: Sony A7 III
Lens: Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM
Focal Length: 24mm
ISO: 1600
Aperture: F4
Shutter Speed: 30s

As you can see from the before image there was a lot of distracting debris and elements in the foreground.

In the edit my first job was to remove these distracting elements to make the scene more “clean” and visually pleasing. I did this in Photoshop using a combination of the healing brush and clone stamp tools.

Then I did a global adjustment of the exposure, lifting the shadows to reveal a bit more detail and also pushing the highlights to make the shaft of light pop a bit more.

Once I was happy with the overall exposure, I added a slight colour grade and added some vibrancy to make the colours pop and that was pretty much it in terms of the edit.

The final hurdle was to get back out of that mineshaft in one piece, which I’m happy to say we did!

The best images always have some kind of story behind them and so that’s why I picked this one for this blog post.

If you’re interested in seeing a more visceral behind the scenes from this shot, you can watch the vlog over on my YouTube channel, just remember to bring the popcorn!

You can also check out more of my work on Instagram – @craigpittstv

Thanks for reading and happy creating…

Mimuna Fashion – @Mimuna_Photography

Hi there, my name is Mimuna.

I am a fashion photographer and have been since I was 16. My first birthday my mother brought me my first ever camera. At first, my mother bought it to film small memories of me when I was a child, but this eventually changed as I used my camera to take photos of my mother and my friends and even animals too when a small child, I hated playing with toys and I loved playing around the camera so much! 18 years later this has stayed the same.

The reason why I love photography is that it tells a story about me and the model. Sometimes I can’t express how I’m feeling and taking photos helps me express who I am and what I am passionate about.

I started at 16

I had A business when I was 16 years old where I would actively send emails to agencies, brands and models just to practice. Eventually I got some agencies to help me gain some content that I can put on Instagram and show clients from all over the world to enjoy, from that moment I knew this is something I will do constantly and become bigger throughout the years. Now I am being paid and numbers of people want to work with me and promote with, it is a goal that I never knew can happen to an ordinary girl like me.

My goal is what I am passionate about, which always being to tell a story but hopefully having a bigger platform would be amazing to send out my message and content that people can enjoy and make them smile. Ensuring that they can just look for a brief second and carrying that image is what I want so my photos in billboards or bigger places would be a dream and I will always think about non-stop and I won’t stop dreaming until I reach my goal.

                           Before                                                       After                                                                                                                                   

The Shot

This is a shot that I love so much not because that it took so long to plan it is because it tells a story, I enjoy capturing moments that will live on as it captures so much attention.

In the fashion industry, it is quite hard for Muslim women to express their creativity through fashion, is since its hard to find pieces that can be modest enough to wear.

In this photo, we can capture that this is not a problem anymore and all religion can express themselves through fashion. This was taken in the busiest streets in London, therefore we had to wake up early on a Saturday morning, the weather was quite gloomy and rainy but we still made it work!

Backgrounds Help So Much!

One moment that was quite difficult to do was to ensure we had a good central posing as well as having a beautiful background. Of course, my camera setting was set to manual as I love to control how much light and depth that goes into my photo, in this particular photo my ISO was at 100 due to the fact the surrounding were quite bright but the aperture is quite low as I want to keep the depth of field as it creates a great dynamic shot!

The main software I used to edit this is Lightroom, I wanted to add a cooler tone and increase the details for the buildings as it adds a modern tone just by adding the tones, the editing process took over an hour to create but my vision came to life which is sometimes I feel absolutely proud of.

I really hope I have inspired peaople to do anything they want in life as long as they push their boundaries. 

You can find more of my work on instagram: @mimuna_photography 

You can always ask questions or if you need help on anything photography related i’m happy to help!

Grace TSP – @earthtoaqua

My name is Grace TSP, I’m a 24 year old photographer from the North West of England. I got into photography in my early 20’s. After finishing University I packed up my life into one suitcase and moved abroad, starting in Thailand. I started to document my experiences through photography on an entry level canon DSLR and it very quickly became an intense passion.

My photography mainly focuses on travel, action and adventure as I want my work to encourage and inspire people to go out and soak up new cultures and experiences and ultimately believe any adventure is possible! I also have a masters degree in environmental science and as a very eco conscious person so I wanted my photography to inspire a sense of connection and responsibility for our planets natural environment.

I’m a commercially certified drone pilot which also adds another dimension to my photography as well as being a PADI Scuba Instructor and underwater photographer.

Unique is Key

I think what makes me unique in my work (whilst I fully realise I am still constantly learning), is my ability to capture the world in 3 dimensions from high in the sky with my Mavic Pro 2, to deep under the waves. The world exists in 3 realms of sky earth and water and I wanted my range of photography to reflect that – hence the name ‘Earth To Aqua’.

The Shot

The shot I have chosen was taken on a recent hike up to Y Cribin Ridge in the Snowdonia National Park. I think it’s a great shot to show to unpredictability of nature and how that makes it so remarkable. I was forecast sunny skies and low winds and started my 800m ascent early in the morning, the weather held up for the first couple of hours as I scrambled up steep rock faces.

My favourite photos to take are the ones you really have to work hard to get, when I see my work back that had a challenge and story behind getting it I feel a much greater sense of achievement.

The weather suddenly changed

As I reached about 600m, just before the main part of the ridge, visibility dropped and the winds picked up to over 30mph (I was glad I’d decided to leave my drone at home). I sheltered in some rocks hoping it would pass only to find myself joined by a number of Welsh Mountain Goats that had clearly had the same idea of taking shelter from the wind. I decided to call off the rest of the hike. Standing up in the wind was a struggle and if the hardy goats couldn’t hack it I knew I couldn’t either.

As I descended, the fog started to lift and the wind dropped and it was at about 400m where this shot was taken. The sun started to emerge through the fog and the glorious  weather I experienced on the way up slowly returned. The wind was still incredibly strong so I couldn’t use my tripod and the only camera I had on me was my Panasonic LUMIX GH5 (as I was planning on getting video footage from the ridge). The rainbow was perfectly placed below me which looked over the ridge I was on, I think it perfectly emulates beauty in a harsh environment.

I love this shot because there is such a stark contrast between the quickly moving storm clouds at altitude and the calmness that unveiled itself lower down the mountain.

Settings

The image was shot at 1/2500 second at f/4.0 with an ISO of 200. I wouldn’t normally use my GH5 for landscape and outdoor photography but you work with what you have and I’m very happy with how the shot came out.

In terms of editing, I just wanted to distinguish the high and low altitude more with the vibrancy of rainbow and sun covered grass and lakes standing in sharper contrast the the higher mountain range. I dropped the exposure slightly but brought up the shadows significantly to reveal the lighter areas of the lower lakes more. As well as dropping the blacks to create a punchy contrast. 

In terms of colour correction the main thing was just dropping the saturation of the greens (dominant colour) so that the rainbow and beautiful lakes would stand out more.

I think this image just goes to show a photo opportunity can present itself at any moment, you just have to be adaptable and ready for it. Also, you have to go out and seek these moments and really put yourself out there for our amazing natural world to give back. 

Leave your thoughts!