Photography Blog: Knowledge & Inspiration For Photographers

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‘Yellow’ Competition Winners

From products to portraits and landscapes to reportage, we recieved a huge variety of entries for our ‘Yellow’ themed competition! Here is a look at the winning images…

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How to set up your home photography studio

Setting up your own photography studio is an exciting step, but there’s often a lot of questions and considerations. How big does the space have to be? What colours should the walls be? What equipment do you need and where do you keep said equipment? You’ll find the answers to all of the most common questions here, along with some of the best advice and tips from our members to help you successfully set up your first home studio.

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Hasselblad Interview 2021

In a recent live webinar I chatted to Hasselblad about my life, my work as a commercial photographer and educator, and also how my knowledge and that of other top professionals is presented to members of our education platform.

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20 Best female poses for portrait photography

Posing is something that can look incredibly simple, but it isn’t always as easy as it looks, so having some poses in mind before you start shooting can really help ensure a smooth shoot. Here are 20 ideas for female poses to give you some inspiration for your next portrait photoshoot.

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6 Cosmetic product photography ideas

I’ve put together a list of six ideas that you can try next time you’re shooting product photographs. The best part? Most of these ideas don’t require much space and only need some basic equipment. They’re also a great way to practise and refine some important product photography skills while getting creative.

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Behind the scenes: Three days of fashion shoots

We’ve been busy creating a series of exciting new beauty and fashion images. It was a whirlwind week, as we managed to shoot a total of 14 different setups, including both beauty and fashion images. Here’s a behind the scenes look at what went on…

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Enlarging images using Photoshop Super Resolution

Photoshop recently added their Super Resolution feature to Adobe Camera Raw, which allows you to enlarge images by a factor of four. Having tried to enlarge images myself previously, I decided to test this new feature to see the results first-hand.

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Speedlites vs studio flash for small product photography

Recently I did a live show where I photographed a pair of earphones. The main purpose of the show was to demonstrate how to photograph earphones based on our fourth photography brief assignment, but there was another lesson I wanted members to take from the shoot: that it’s not about the brand or type of lights you use, but more about your knowledge and understanding of light.

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The best lens for every type of photography

There’s an almost endless list of camera lenses to choose from when it comes to DSLR and mirrorless cameras, so trying to determine what lens is the best for your photography can get a little overwhelming. To help you make an informed decision, I’ve put together a list of recommended lenses for different types of photography to help you decide what’s best for you.

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Product lighting techniques using minimal equipment

Not having enough lights can make product photography challenging, to say the least, but the good news is that there are a few ways you can overcome this problem. I recently shot an antique-style image of a saddle where I showed two other ways you can light creatively even if you only have a couple of lights.

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The best budget modifier for portraiture

I’ve tested, rented and owned a lot of different modifiers over the course of my career, but what would be my choice of modifier for beauty, fashion and portrait work if I only had £50 or £100 to spend? Recently I tested a large number of modifiers for a new tool we’re creating, including an independent brand modifier that cost less than £50 ($70). Surprisingly, this modifier gave great results that were comparable to the Octabox 150 and it’s even easier to transport!

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Flash duration explained

When it comes to using studio flash, one of the things that often causes confusion is flash duration. Flash duration refers to the length of time of the burst of light that comes out of a studio flash. Quite simply, it is the duration for which a studio flash or speedlite emits light for a single burst. This can vary across brands and also types of studio lights, but is always shown as one of two measurements: t0.5 or t0.1.

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Making a photography portfolio that stands out

As it’s becoming easier and easier to be a ‘photographer’, it’s getting harder and harder to make your work stand out. To help you overcome this challenge, I’ve answered some of the most common questions relating to photography portfolios and shared some useful tips to help you decide what to include and what not to include so that you can create an online portfolio that you can be proud of.

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Top 10 automotive photography tips

From cars to motorcycles, lighting considerations, angles, polarisation, space requirements, assistants and more, I’m going to share my top 10 tips for automotive photography to help you get the best results.

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Landscape photography tips to help you avoid common mistakes

Whether you’re a keen enthusiast or aspiring pro, you’ve probably shot a few landscape images in your time. Chances are you’ve also made one or two simple mistakes that you’ve regretted later. These 8 tips will help you avoid these common difficulties and improve your landscape photography.

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51 of my favourite photographers that will inspire you

As photographers, we get inspiration for our photography from all around us. Music, art, experiences… even work by other photographers. There are many great photographers out there and I’m sure I’ve missed several, but here are some of my favourite photographers whose work might inspire you too.

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Professional studio lighting modifiers

Many people are familiar with standard modifiers such as softboxes or grids, but I often get a lot of questions about the specialist studio lighting equipment I use in my studio and what lights I use to create certain emotions and effects.

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How to honestly know if your photos are any good

How can you tell if your pictures are any good? The difficulty in finding the answer to this is that you’re often reliant on other people’s feedback, so I found the best way is to work it out for yourself using three very specific criteria and benchmark comparisons.

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Master long exposure photography

If you have an understanding of photographic fundamentals such as shutter speed, aperture and how to expose an image, you’ve already got most of what you need to start shooting long exposures. This technique can also be used for much more than just landscape or night photography though, so if you’d like to learn how to master long exposure and take more creative images, keep reading.

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Parabolic reflector comparison and budget modifier hack

Parabolic reflectors are one of my favourite modifiers, but due to the price of them many photographers often try to find more economic solutions compared to some of the top brands. But how do the more budget options actually perform compared to the top brands? I did a direct comparison between two different brands of parabolic modifiers and also tried a hack to try and make a cheap parabolic softbox modifier work more effectively.

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Studio lighting setups using two lights

There’s a lot you can do with just two studio lights — trust me, I’ve shot everything from bottle product photography to fashion photography using just two lights. I’ve put together two different examples of two-light setups for portrait photography, product photography, and fashion photography and I’m also going to explain how you could use similar setups to these for your own photography.

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The do’s and don’ts of bottle photography

If you’re looking to practice your product photography, bottles are something you can easily get your hands on if you want to try something new or refine your skills. These reflective subjects can be a challenge to photograph, with their glass surface and reflections, but there are a few key do’s and don’ts that will help you understand how to get professional results

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Lens filters explained

Along with a variety of lenses, spare batteries and lens cleaning cloths, most photographers will also have a selection of filters in their camera bag. But what do lens filters do? What lens filters are essential? And what is the difference between circular and linear polarisers? I answer all of these questions and also address when and why you might need filters and how they can help you get more creative with your photography.

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How to use flash triggers to photograph moving objects

Capturing movement photography can be a time consuming and frustrating process, and freezing that perfect moment often requires split second timing. So how do we capture those decisive moments accurately and precisely? I’m going to share my top tips for photographing motion and explore what wireless flash triggers we can use to get the perfect timing for our shots.

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Photography Brief #4 – Earphones Product Shoot

For our fourth ‘Working to a brief’ assignment, members have been tasked with creating a product shot of a pair of earphones*. All the details you need to complete the brief can be found here, as well as in the accompanying live show.

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Are LED photography lights better than traditional studio flash lights?

LED lighting has come a long way in recent years and grown in popularity, so why do most professional photographers, including myself, still prefer studio flash (strobe) lighting? To help you understand the two kinds of lighting systems and, more importantly, which is better I’m going to explain the differences between them, the pros and cons of each, and where each is best applied.

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December 2020 ‘Interior Spaces’ Competition Winners

After working through all of the entries for our final competition of the year, we have finally decided the winner of the Loupedeck CT! The theme for this month’s competition ‘Interior Spaces’ was quite fitting, considering the year we’ve had, and there were a handful of images that clearly stood out. However, there can only be one winner…

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Photography hack: Macro photography with extension tubes

If you truly want to enter the magnified world of macro photography, you’ve probably been told you need a dedicated macro lens. But these specialist lenses can cost a fair bit, and if macro photography is something you do just for the enjoyment, you probably don’t want to be paying hundreds of dollars for a lens you’ll only use occasionally. The good news is that there is a cheaper alternative: extension tubes.

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7 Food photography mistakes you should avoid

If you’re looking to improve your food photography, you’ve probably seen the same old advice repeated in every article out there. So rather than re-explaining what you should be doing, I’m going to explain what not to do if you want to get more professional results. To help you take better food photographs, I’ve summarised the key points to keep in mind when photographing food so that you can avoid these common problems.

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How Photoshop could be making you a less creative photographer

It can be easy, when creating an image, to think “I’ll just fix it in Photoshop afterwards”, but that type of mindset may actually be having a negative impact on your photography. I’m not saying I don’t use or don’t approve of Photoshop. I simply prefer to solve problems throughout the shoot, and there are multiple advantages to this approach.

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How to create a plain black background for any type of photography

Black backgrounds can look very effective in photography, and they’re a popular choice for everything from portrait photography to products. Although a plain black background may look easy to achieve, there are actually quite a few things to consider if you want to get the best results, so I’ve put together a guide to help you, including tips for what background to use, what lighting is best, and where to position your subject.

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Parabolic softbox vs octabox lighting comparison

Photography can be an expensive hobby, and the last thing you want is to waste your money on something that’s little more than a marketing gimmick. One of the greatest marketing gimmicks with see at the moment is parabolic softboxes, and in a recent Youtube video I did a side-by-side comparison with a popular portrait lighting modifier — a large octabox — to test the results for myself. Read on to discover…

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Pro tips to avoid the most common mistakes in product photography

I’ve been doing professional product photography for around 20 years now, and as an educator I’m familiar with many of the most common mistakes photographers make when photographing products. I’m going to share my top product photography tips to help you avoid these common mistakes and achieve high-end professional results.

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How to photograph fireworks like a pro

Bonfire night, the Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve — there’s always a few nights a year when we have a chance to photograph these impressive pyrotechnic displays. But photographing fireworks can be somewhat tricky. What shutter speed do you use? Where, and how, do you focus in the dark? And what equipment do you need? I answer all of this below, as well as share my top tips to help you learn how to photograph fireworks like a pro.

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Case study: Speedlite product photography

Shooting professional product photography using speedlites isn’t necessarily the easiest way to go about it but it can be done, as I showed in a recent Youtube video where I photographed a clear glass bottle using just three speedlites.

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A Life On Our Planet — What We Can Do To Help

When you think about it, as photographers, many of us rely on the natural beauty of the world through landscapes, nature, wildlife and macro photography. But right now our planet is under attack, it has been and continues to be decimated by us – humans. But what can we do about this

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The value of hiring a photography assistant

What many don’t realise is that the benefit of hiring a photographer’s assistant can far outweigh the costs. If you’re serious about improving your work and growing your photography business, hiring an assistant is one of the smartest investments you can make, and I’m going to explain why.

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September 2020 ‘Balance’ Competition Winners

The theme for our September 2020 competition – ‘Balance’ – meant it was fairly open to interpretation, which resulted in a wide variety of images being submitted, from portraits to landscapes, still life images to product shots. The winning images displayed a combination of…

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A guide to creating white backgrounds for product photography

Creating a plain white background for a product shot or e-commerce shoot sounds simple, and when you know how it is! Whether you’re shooting packshot photography for an e-commerce website or are looking to refine your technique for commercial photography projects, I’m going to explain the important considerations and necessary equipment…

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Understanding metering & which metering modes to use when

Metering refers to the process where the camera evaluates the amount of reflected light in a scene and calculates what it thinks to be the correct exposure. Different camera makes and models have different metering modes, so I’ve explained the most common ones, how they work and when to use them.

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Hasselblad Webinar – Interview With Karl Taylor

Karl will be interviewed by Hasselblad in live webinar on Wednesday 16th September. He will be talking about his career and inspirations and sharing some of his favourite images. The event is free to join and you can sign up on Hasselblad’s website.

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How to get started with product photography

Product photography is one of the most lucrative genres of photography, but it often requires a good selection of equipment and a thorough understanding of light. By the end of this article you’ll know exactly what you need to get started as a successful product photographer, what equipment you’ll need, what critical skills will come in handy, and much more.

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Photography Brief #3 – Blueberry Muffins

For our third ‘Working to a brief’ challenge, members have been tasked with creating a breakfast scene image of an arrangement of blueberry muffins. All the details you need to complete the brief can be found here, as well as in the accompanying live show.

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Case study: Natural light product photography

When you apply the knowledge of light, you can achieve professional photography results with little to no equipment. In this article I explain how I managed to create a close replica of a previous wine bottle studio shot using nothing more than natural light from a window, some diffusion material, a reflector, and two iPhones.

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July 2020 ‘Tasty’ Competition Winners

Here are the winners of our ‘Tasty’ photography competition. This competition proved particularly challenging when it came to the judging process, with each member of the team having their own opinions on which images best fitted the topic while still displaying a high quality of photography.

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Why image quality is not just about megapixels

When it comes to image quality, there is a big misconception that if you want better quality, you need more megapixels. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) it isn’t that straightforward. To better understand image quality, considering the number of megapixels alone isn’t enough. You also need to look at the size and type of sensor, understand how images are formed, how light is focused onto the sensor, the impact of lens choice and quality, and consider the pixel size to get the full picture.

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Mistakes to avoid when using studio lighting

I’ve been a photography educator for more than 12 years now, so I’ve seen pretty much everything when it comes to common mistakes relating to first-time studio lighting users. From relying on a light meter to shying away from understanding the physics of light, here are nine mistakes you should try to avoid when using studio flash or strobe lighting.

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Photography Brief #2 – Wine Bottle

Find out everything you need to know for our second ‘Working to a photography brief’ challenge. For this particular brief, members have been tasked with shooting a bottle of wine with very specific lighting.

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A guide to understanding studio lighting

In this guide to studio lighting you’ll learn the difference between continuous light and flash; different power systems like monobloc lights or power packs; flash power and how to adjust it; how flashes are triggered; and much more.

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How to light & photograph cars

Car photography is notoriously difficult and often requires some high-level professional equipment. I’ve photographed plenty of motorbikes before, but car photos require much more space and specialist equipment. Because space isn’t an issue in my studio, I’ve been wanting to fit a proper floating panel for car photography for a couple of years now…

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Karl Taylor Education member wins Sony World Photography Award

When the World Photography Association announced the 10 category winners for the 2020 Sony World Photography Awards Open competition, Karl Taylor Education member Jorge Reynal did not expect his name to be placed alongside those of some of the greatest photographers in the world. But that is exactly what happened. Find out what Jorge had to say about his award.

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8 Tips to help you run a successful photography business

Having been in business for nearly 30 years, I’ve learnt is that business is not complicated — running a successful photography business comes down to a few key points that if understood, make working through tough times a lot simpler. I outline my top eight tips for running a photography business here.

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What you need to know about working to a photography brief

For many professional photographers, working to a brief is nothing new. But for those just starting their professional journey, the concept of working to a brief might seem a little overwhelming and intimidating. What is a brief? What should you expect when receiving a brief? How do you plan and do you need to pre-shoot and test? All of these are important considerations…