Your rights as a Photographer in the UK

Some of the greatest photographs ever taken fall into the ‘street shooter’ category’.

Legendary photographers like Cartier Bresson and Andre Kertesz created their striking shots by walking the streets and looking for ‘decisive moments,’ interesting juxtapositions or just being in the right place at the right time.

Photographers Rights In The UK: A Guide So it’s vital for the art of photography that photographers should be able to go about their business without hassle from the cops – and by law that’s exactly what they’re entitled to do.

If you’re on a public right of way – such as a public pavement, footpath or public highway – you’re free to take photographs for personal and commercial use so long as you’re not causing an obstruction to other users or falling foul of anti-Terrorism laws or even the Official Secrets Act (frankly, this one is unlikely).

DPP -v- Jones (1999): The Court recognised that the public may enjoy a public highway for any reasonable purpose, provided it does not amount to public or private nuisance or obstruct the highway “by unreasonably impeding the primary right of the public to pass and re-pass: within these qualifications there is a public right of peaceful assembly on the highway.”

There’s nothing stopping you taking pictures of people in public places within reason, but if you start shoving your zoom lens up their nostrils or taking action shots of their every step, there’s a chance you might get a clip around the ear from your aggrieved subject or possibly face a legal charge of harassment or breach of the peace.

Harassment is defined as a ‘course of conduct’ (so it has to happen at least twice) that causes another person ‘alarm or distress’, but we have to say that the bullying and aggressive antics of the paparazzi would suggest that prosecutions are few and far between.

Photographers are free to use their photographs of people taken in public places as they wish – including for commercial gain.

Note: Professional photography is banned in London’s Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square as well as the Royal Parks.

If you start breaking out the tripods, glampussy models, make up crew, Winnebagos and huge lights and reflectors, expect a parkie to turn up on the scene pronto demanding a hefty fee. However, be a little more low key with your shooting and you should have no problems.

People and Privacy
UK laws are fairly vague when it comes to defining what constitutes an invasion of privacy, but while street shots should cause no problem, you might get in hot water if you’re strapping on colossal telephoto lens and zooming in on folks stripping off in their bathrooms – even if you are snapping from a public place.

The key seems to be whether the subject would have a reasonable expectation of privacy – a statement that seems vague enough to keep a team of lawyers gainfully employed for some time.

Photographers Rights In The UK: A Guide
With some countries having stronger privacy laws, UK snappers looking to commercially exploit images of recognisable people snapped without their consent may find international clients unenthusiastic unless a model release has been obtained.

There’s also a remote chance that photographs of people in public places may be subject to the Data Protection Act, but that’s pretty unlikely if there’s no other identifying information accompanying the image.

Photographing children

There are no laws against taking photos of children, but someone taking an unhealthy interest can rightly expect to attract unwelcome attention from the authorities (and quite probably passers by) pretty sharpish.

Be also mindful that if you’re taking pictures in areas where dodgy folks, drug dealers and ne’er do wells may be in view, they’re unlikely to be pleased with the attention and probably won’t be bothered about the niceties of the law in their response.

If someone asks you to stop take pictures of them, it’s generally a good idea to do so.

“There is no legal restriction on photography in public places, and there is no presumption of privacy for individuals in a public place.

It is for the Chief Constable to ensure that Officers and Police Community Support Officers are acting appropriately with regards to photography in public places, and any queries regarding this should be addressed to the Chief Constable.

However decisions may be made locally to restrict photography, for example to protect children. Any questions on such local decisions should also be addressed to the force concerned.”

Property owners have no right to stop people taking photos of their buildings, so long as the photographer is standing in a public place (e.g. the road outside).

It is also not an infringement of copyright to “take photographs of buildings, sculptures and works of artistic craftsmanship that are permanently situated in a public place or in premises that are open to the public”.

Section 62 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 expressly permits certain copying in relation to buildings, and also to sculptures and works of artistic craftsmanship that are permanently situated in a public place or in premises open to the public, although the Advertising Standards Authority has upheld complaints when photographs of private residences have been used in advertising without the owner’s permission.

Certain uses of a photograph of a building could amount to passing off, or may infringe a trademark, but as yet there has been no such cases in the UK.

Gerroff my land

Photographers Rights In The UK: A GuideHowever, if you’re standing on private property and the landowner/occupier objects, then they have every right to request that you stop immediately and ask you to leave if you refuse.

Many museums, art galleries, football grounds, concert venues and similar places ban photography as a condition of entry, so you can hardly complain if you get turfed out after you’ve whipped out your camera.

The same applies to all private property open to the public in general – e.g. offices, shops, even your local chippy – with the owner or occupier having the right to demand that you stop taking photos and get the hell out.

Most shopping centres and malls stand on private land with many gaining a notorious reputation for speedily dispatching stroppy security guards demanding that you stop taking photos.

The irony that they’re already busy filming you from every angle via a flotilla of CCTV cameras is generally lost on them.

However, it’s worth checking with individual companies before snapping and always use your common sense – if you’re getting in everyone’s way or creating a safety risk, expect to be turfed off sharpish.

Network Rail’s official line is that enthusiasts are very welcome and can be beneficial to security by providing extra ‘eyes and ears.’ All they ask is that people notify station staff and don’t do anything silly like hanging over platform edges as trains are approaching, which isn’t unreasonable.

Taking photographs on stations is permitted providing it is for personal use. For any commercial photography, prior permission must be sought from the appropriate train operator or, from Network Rail at their 17 major stations. On busy stations the use of a tripod may cause a dangerous obstruction to passengers and you may be asked not to use one.

In addition, tripod legs must also be kept away from platform edges and behind the yellow lines. Flash photography on platforms is not allowed as it may distract the attention of train drivers and train despatch staff and is therefore a potential safety hazard. You are also not allowed to take photographs of security related equipment such as CCTV cameras.


Virgin Trains have adopted a similarly sensible policy, with in November 2009 advertising their policy:

Virgin trains welcomes rail enthusiasts and passengers who wish to take still or video images at our stations.

We ask that you do not interfere with the flow of passengers and respect the wishes of both passengers and staff not to be photographed. If you are filming for extended periods and/or using bulky equipment you should make yourself known to our station staff so that the reasons for filming are clear.

Flash photography is not permitted at any time and the use of tripods should be avoided whenever possible. If you wish to use a tripod you should locate and speak with the Station Team Leader to ensure that you are in a safe area.

photographing tubes trains and stationsTube stations
Seeing as we’ve heard so many instances of people being hassled over this, here’s the low down: non-commercial photography on tube stations is most certainly allowed – and if any busybody tries to tell you different, politely tell them to bury their head in part 10 of rule Sa109 in the Working Reference Manual:

10.1 Passengers can take photographs with small cameras for private purposes, provided flashlights and/or tripods are not used no obstruction or inconvenience is caused to staff and/or passengers.

Under UK law, it’s a criminal offence to obstruct the free passage on the highway and this includes footways, bike paths and roads.

If you’re standing on a thoroughfare to grab a photograph and you’re not impeding the movement of traffic or people to any degree, then you’re absolutely within the law. Sadly, some protest photographers will be familiar with the Old Bill tactic of claiming that they’re causing an obstruction in often the most frivolous of circumstances.

Photographers Rights In The UK: A Guide
It may be a pain, but it’s usually best to move yo’ ass when asked as it’s not uncommon for innocent photographers to be arrested for obstruction at demos – or even get their collars felt for supposedly obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty.

Taking photographs is unlikely to amount to a ‘breach of the peace’ or be seen as ‘conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace’, but if you’re stuck in the thick of a heated demo or street riot, you’ll have to be careful that the police don’t confuse you with the participants and treat you accordingly.

If you’ve a photojournalist card, wear it on a lanyard so you can easily show it to the police if challenged, but if you’re a freelancer you might find it harder to convince the cops that you’re not one of the rampaging hordes.

The best advice is to keep your eyes open and to speedily back off when the police start to charge your way.

Note that there is no law preventing you taking photographs of the police at demos, unless there are any overriding security/law enforcement concerns.

Photographers Rights In The UK: A Guide Breach of the Peace
Another legal catch-all sometimes employed by the police against photographers refusing to leave a scene when doing their job is, “conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace.”

We can’t think of any successful prosecutions of press photographers under this law, but it has certainly been used on occasion.

Some legal precedents:
In R v Howell [1981] 3 All ER 383, Watkins LJ said “… we cannot accept that there can be breach of the peace unless here has been an act done or threatened to be done which actually harms a person or in his presence his property or is likely to cause such harm or which puts someone in fear of such harm being done.” while in DPP v Percy [1995] 3 All ER 124, the court clarified that conduct could be breach of the peace if there was a real risk that it would elicit violence from a third party.

This could apply to a photographer hassling people in such a manner that he/she might elicit a violent response from those around them, although we’d suggest that this kind of offence would be extremely rare. Our advice would be to retire at a rate of knots when threatened with an arrest under breach of the peace.

Trespass

If you start stomping over private property taking photos without permission, you’re committing a trespass, and the same applies to anyone who “interferes” with the property.

The “interference” law is a bit of a daft one and can be used for something as trivial as scrambling up a bit of wall to take a photo over the top or even resting your camera on a fence.

If you’ve been given access to property on the condition that your camera stays firmly in your bag, the second you start snapping you’re no longer entitled to be on the land and are thus guilty of trespass (Scottish law differs in this regard).


Landowners, occupiers, security guards and bouncers etc. are allowed to use ‘reasonable force’ to prevent a trespasser entering their property and they can also use reasonable force to eject a trespasser who is refusing to leave their land, but the law is very strict about what constitutes reasonable force.

This means that almost any violent attack would be unreasonable under the law, as would threatening someone with a knife, club, Ninja sword, Nunchaku, AK47, thermo-nuclear device or any other weapon.

Note: Property owners or their employees and security staff have no right whatsoever to confiscate or damage a photographer’s camera or insist that images are deleted.

 

Deleting images
We’ve given this a separate page because it’s a very important issue – your photos are your work, and you’re entitled to protect them.

We deal with some of the related issues in more depth in our Photographing protests in the UK page, but here’s the basic outlines of the law:

Security guards do not have stop and search powers or the right to seize your equipment or delete images or confiscate film under any circumstances.

In some circumstances, the police may grab your film or memory cards but they are still not authorised to delete any images.

After all, if you’ve committed an offence the images would act as evidence, and if you haven’t broken the law, the images are innocent.

Photorec photograph recovery softwareRECOVERING DELETED IMAGES

If you are forced to delete your photos, take the card out of the camera immediately. Whatever you do, do not take any new pictures as these will reduce your chances of recovering the deleted images. If you want to keep on snapping, use a fresh card.

When you get home, you can use a file recovery program to get your images back. These often have a high success rate.

If you are arrested, keep calm and do not panic. Remember that you have the right to be treated fairly and with respect by the police.

Photographers rights and the lawWhen you are arrested you do not have to say anything to the police. BUT if you are later charged with a crime and you have not mentioned, when questioned, something that you later rely on in court, then this may be taken into account when deciding if you are guilty.

We suggest you respond with:

I have been advised that I should answer no questions.

It is not right that I should have to give a complete case for my self until charges have been made and properly explained and until there are other people around to check that questions put to me are fair and legal.

I will say nothing until I am advised to do so by a fully qualified legal advisor.

There may be good reasons why you do not wish to say anything to the police, and you should not be intimidated into answering questions. Get a solicitor down to see you in the police station as soon as possible.

Remember that it is wise not to discuss the case with the police until you have consulted privately with a solicitor. If the police are about to arrest you or have already arrested you, there is no such thing as a ‘friendly chat’ to sort things out. Anything you say can later be used against you. Think before you talk.

Always get proper legal representation if you get into bother with the law.

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Composition of Photography

1) General Definition of the Term

The term “composition” applies not only to visual arts, but to music, dance, literature and virtually any other kind of art. In certain contexts, such as writing, this term may not be as widely used, but is just as valid nonetheless. In general, the term “composition” has two distinctive, yet related meanings.

First and foremost, “composition” describes placement of relative objects and elements in a work of art. Consequently, composition is a key aspect of a good work of art. There is hardly a way to overemphasize the importance of composition. Any aspiring artist ought to give composition of his work a lot of attention. A good composition is one that has just enough detail. Too few elements is bad because it robs the work of art of necessary detail that makes correct interpretation possible. It also ruins the balance of an image. And too many elements can be very distracting as well. Good composition requires good balance. It is best to make sure all the elements present are necessary for the idea or story you are trying to pass on.

2) What is Composition in Photography?

Now that we know the general definition of the term “composition”, it is not too hard to figure out its meaning in photography. Simply put, composing an image means arranging elements within it in a way that suits the core idea or goal of your work best. Arranging elements can be done by actually moving the objects or subjects. A good example for this case is portrait or still life photography. Street photography involves anticipation, since the photographer doesn’t usually have the choice of moving his subjects himself, but has to wait for them to take the most suitable position within the frame. Another way of arranging elements is by changing your own position. Such a way is appropriate in circumstances that do not allow the photographer to physically move anything, like landscape photography.

Composition is a way of guiding the viewer’s eye towards the most important elements of your work, sometimes – in a very specific order. A good composition can help make a masterpiece even out of the dullest objects and subjects in the plainest of environments. On the other hand, a bad composition can ruin a photograph completely, despite how interesting the subject may be. A poorly judged composition is also not something you can usually fix in post-processing, unlike simple and common exposure or white balance errors. Cropping can sometimes save an image, but only when tighter framing and removal of certain portions of the image is the correct solution. That is why giving your choice of composition plenty of thought before capturing an image is a step of utmost importance.

Street Photography in Vilnius

Focal length, aperture, angle at which you choose to position your camera relative to your subject also greatly affects composition. For example, choosing a wider aperture will blur the background and foreground, effectively lessening the importance of objects placed in there. It will also more often than not result in more noticeable corner shading (vignetting), which will help keep viewer’s eye inside the frame for longer. On the other hand, closing down the aperture will bring more objects into focus which, in turn, may result in better image balance. How so? Well, “sharper”, more in-focus objects may attract more attention than a blurry shape, but not always (see image sample below). An experienced photographer will use all the available means to achieve the desired result. It is worth noting that de-focusing objects in the foreground or background does not negate their contribution to overall composition of the image. Simple shapes, tones, shadows, highlights, colors are all strong elements of composition.

Take a look at the below image. Despite the fact that part of a wall showing in the foreground is completely out of focus, it is the most vivid part of the photograph as well as being quite bright. For this reason, it attracts our attention much more than the main subject (man with the tea cup and his Siberian Husky hiding in shadows). The bright yellow rectangle is the first thing you see when you glance at the photograph. A good and obvious way to fix this would be to reduce the vividness and luminance of yellow using Lightroom’s HSL panel (although I actually like the contrast between the two parts of the photograph):

Street Photography in Vilnius_1

 

Composing an image eventually becomes a very natural process. With enough practice – mind you, there can never be too much of such a thing – you will not even have to think about the placement of those elements. Your subconscious will do it for you. Your fingers will dial correct settings, your eye will guide the framing. Poor composition will instantly appear unnatural and just plain wrong to you. The more experience you have, the better choices you will make. Best way to grow as a photographer is not to rush your decisions and not trust your subconscious unquestionably, but to learn new ways of composing your image. Not that you shouldn’t trust your guts – you should, of course. But make sure to also give it some thought, experiment, take a few shots and analyze them during post-processing. See what works best, try to understand why and then experiment some more.

3) The Goal of Composition

One may assume that a good composition is one that is most pleasing to the eye. Consequently, the goal of good composition ought to be showing your subject or object in a flattering, aesthetically pleasing manner. But such opinion is a little superficial. Not every work of art is supposed to be pleasing or beautiful to the viewer. Some artists try to express different, stronger ideas and their subject, as well as composition choices help achieve that. For example, if an artist wants the viewer to feel uncomfortable or nervous, he will choose a composition that is least “natural” and come up with something unexpected and shocking. A good example of such work is war photography, where photographers often try to help the viewer feel how terrifying and destructive war is. On the other hand, an artist may portray war victims in a very flattering and disturbingly beautiful way. By doing so, he would emphasize war’s ugly nature in a grotesque and sarcastic manner. So, in the end, the goal of a good composition is to help express the idea of the artist by necessary means.

Rule of Thirds

Rule of Thirds Definition

In the rule of thirds, photos are divided into thirds with two imaginary lines vertically and two lines horizontally making three columns, three rows, and nine sections in the images. Important compositional elements and leading lines are placed on or near the imaginary lines and where the lines intersect.

When taking a photograph with the rule of thirds in mind, it’s always best to compose the photograph in the camera. This is so that you can avoid cropping later to retain as much of the image as possible and avoid reducing the quality of your photographs. However, I encourage going back to some of your older photography and seeing if you can improve them by cropping in a way to make them use the rule of thirds technique.

Rule of Thirds Grid

Rule of Thirds Grid

Rule of Thirds Examples

Rule of Thirds Example: Landscapes

When taking a picture of a landscape, it’s natural to want to center the horizon in the frame. However, pictures often look better if the horizon falls on the upper or lower horizontal dividing line. If the focus of your image is on land (i.e. mountains, buildings), the horizon should fall near the upper third and if the focus is the sky (i.e. sunsets, sunrises), the horizon should fall near the lower third.

Here is an example of the rule of thirds for a landscape photo. The focus is on the land area rather than the sky so the bottom two-thirds of the photograph are filled with land and the top third is sky.

Rule of Thirds

Rule of Thirds Example: Portraits

Here is an example of a rule of thirds portrait. As you can see, the eyes are lined up with the upper horizontal line and each eye is where the upper horizontal line intersects with a vertical line.

Rule of Thirds

 

Leading Lines

Lines are capable of leading the viewer’s eye through the frame in different directions, usually either towards or away from a point of interest. Here’s our guide to photographing with leading lines.

Leading-Lines

Leading Lines

Lines are capable of leading the viewer’s eye through the frame in different directions, usually either towards or away from a point of interest. Here’s our guide to photographing with leading lines.

Leading lines is one method that depends upon utilising scenic surroundings in a format to literally lead the eye following a subject through the image. It can be an addition that takes an image to that meaningful next level.

Lines are capable of leading the viewer’s eye through the frame in different directions, usually either towards or away from a point of interest. When you open a novel, for example, your eye has been trained to read from left to right from top to bottom. Imagery is different as the eye will grab at certain contrasting areas, yet still follow and ‘read through’ the image.

Composition of leading lines should consider viewpoint as this may provide a ‘look down’ onto natural lines such as pathways that wouldn’t be seen from ground eye level. Arranging natural lines also requires consideration of where you wish to place emphasis in the frame, as a line can lead to a key subject. Multiple lines can provide a more complex effect that leads the eye back and forth, though complex compositions can become unpleasant to look at. Leading lines often lead from the bottom of an image, leading into the centre or key thirds.

Splitting a composition with leading lines can also have an unusual yet appealing effect. By dissecting one area from another, a line can have a significant impact. Central lines can act as divisions or pointers from one area of an image to another too.

Leading Lines – Examples

Patterns

Leading lines don’t strictly have to be single, defined lines. Shooting at the right angle on a pattern, for example, can create real drama in an image and draw the eye through the frame.

Leading-Lines-Fence

Placement

Don’t always concentrate on placing the leading lines in the conventional position. Introduce the line from off-centre, and have it exit the frame at a differing position.

Emphasis

With a low angle and close-up to a leading line, you can add real impact to a shot. While leading lines are a great tool to draw the eye through a frame, they can themselves be the focus of a shot.

 

Leading-Lines-Lights

Multiple

Don’t always concentrate on just a single leading line in a shot. Introducing more than one can create a real dynamism, though don’t overcomplicate things.

Shape

Remember, leading lines don’t have to be straight. A meandering stream or winding road creates a sense of harmony within the shot.

Leading-Lines-Path

Possibly Effects of Wednesdays Attack in London.

What can I say about what happened in a city that I grew up in and a place where a lot of my photography takes place. Is this an effort to try and undermine democracy at it’s foundation. A way of radicals showing that the UK and other democratic places that fight against such act’s are in no way safe?

Will this act stop people from visiting this great city and it’s beliefs. No it shouldn’t! The British and other democracies should all stand together and not let such acts of violence stop a life of freedom and beliefs. Through the centuries there have been many attacks on the House of Parliament, Guy Fawkes being one of the most noted back in history where he tried to blow up Parliament with a gun powder polt.

After Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, English Catholics who had been persecuted under her rule had hoped that her successor, James I, would be more tolerant of their religion. James I had, after all, had a Catholic mother. Unfortunately, James did not turn out to be more tolerant than Elizabeth and a number of young men, 13 to be exact, decided that violent action was the answer.

A small group took shape, under the leadership of Robert Catesby. Catesby felt that violent action was warranted. Indeed, the thing to do was to blow up the Houses of Parliament. In doing so, they would kill the King, maybe even the Prince of Wales, and the Members of Parliament who were making life difficult for the Catholics. Today these conspirators would be known as extremists, or terrorists.

To carry out their plan, the conspirators got hold of 36 barrels of gunpowder – and stored them in a cellar, just under the House of Lords.

But as the group worked on the plot, it became clear that innocent people would be hurt or killed in the attack, including some people who even fought for more rights for Catholics. Some of the plotters started having second thoughts. One of the group members even sent an anonymous letter warning his friend, Lord Monteagle, to stay away from the Parliament on November 5th. Was the letter real?

The warning letter reached the King, and the King’s forces made plans to stop the conspirators.

Guy Fawkes, who was in the cellar of the parliament with the 36 barrels of gunpowder when the authorities stormed it in the early hours of November 5th, was caught, tortured and executed.

It’s unclear if the conspirators would ever have been able to pull off their plan to blow up the Parliament even if they had not been betrayed. Some have suggested that the gunpowder itself was so old as to be useless. Since Guy Fawkes and the other conspirators got caught before trying to ignite the powder, we’ll never know for certain.

Even for the period which was notoriously unstable, the Gunpowder Plot struck a very profound chord for the people of England. In fact, even today, the reigning monarch only enters the Parliament once a year, on what is called “the State Opening of Parliament”. Prior to the Opening, and according to custom, the Yeomen of the Guard search the cellars of the Palace of Westminster. Nowadays, the Queen and Parliament still observe this tradition.

On the very night that the Gunpowder Plot was foiled, on November 5th, 1605, bonfires were set alight to celebrate the safety of the King. Since then, November 5th has become known as Bonfire Night. The event is commemorated every year with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire.

Even when Germans bombed London, there was still that act of defiance regarding the attacks. Keep a stiff upper lip attitude. Don’t let them beat you way of life. As a global community let us all pull together regardless of religion or faith and put a stop to this outrage. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it is to do with Muslims, as there are many, and I mean many Muslims that are just normal people that just follow their faith in the way it is supposed to be followed. Why should a radical few persecute and twist the religious writings so such acts make people change their lives.

Embankment And Eye

Is this something that will not be seen in the future by tourists, I certainly hope not. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

20170219-_mg_7539

Exposure Techniques

exposure-basicsExposure is the amount of light collected by the sensor in your camera during a single picture.  If the shot is exposed too long the photograph will be washed out.  If the shot is exposed too short the photograph will appear too dark.  Almost all cameras today have light meters which measure the light in the given shot and set an ideal exposure automatically.

Most people depend on the light meter which is fine, but if  you know how to control your exposures you can get some creative and sometimes better pictures.  (The photo on the left is with low shutter speed and narrow aperture (high f/stop).

The two primary controls your camera uses for exposure are shutter speed (the amount of time the sensor is exposed to light) and aperture (the size of the lens opening that lets light into the camera).  Shutter speeds are measured in seconds and more commonly fractions of a second. (1/2000 of a second is very fast and 8′ seconds is extremely slow).  Apertures are measured in something called f/stops (a very wide aperture is f/2.8 and a very small aperture is f/19).

exposure-basics2You might wonder why there is not just a constant shutter speed or a constant aperture so that you would only have to worry about one control.  The reason is that even though they both control the amount of light getting to the sensor they also control other aspects of the picture.  Shutter speed for example can be used to freeze subjects in midair with a fast speed or it can be used to blur water with a slow speed.

Aperture controls the depth-of-field which is what is in focus in the picture.  Aperture can be used to draw attention to one subject (like the flower on the right) by blurring the background with a wide aperture (low f/stop).  Aperture can also be used to focus everything in a picture with a narrow aperture (high f/stop).  (The photo on the left is with Wide aperture (low f/stop) and corresponding shutter speed).

exposure-basics3

On most digital SLR’s (Single Lens Reflex) cameras today you can even change the sensitivity of the sensor when collecting light which is called the ISO speed.  The common span of ISO speed is 100 to 800.  The higher the ISO speed the faster the camera collects light but it also adds more noise to the photograph than the lower speeds.

For example if your trying to take pictures in dim light without a tripod you might want to raise the ISO speed in order to get a picture that’s not blurry.  Most of the time you should keep it at a lower ISO speed if there is enough light, but it makes a big difference when there isn’t.

The best way to learn how to use shutter speed and aperture is to just keep experimenting with them.

A long exposure can be used in photography to capture the effect of time on an image, moving objects such as clouds and water will create an almost unpredictable abstract effect. Long exposures can be used to remove unwanted detail from an image smoothing details that might distract the viewer from what you want them to see.

A short exposure on the other hand captures an instant of time, something that happened on a fraction of a second.

A good way to capture time in a photo is to combine both a short and a long exposure.

Capturing Time

In this photo a long exposure was made for the “arc” of water but on that photo the splash of water was lost. So a short exposure was taken and then both photos were digitally combined to make them a single image. The result shows both the effect of the long exposure and the splash of water at the same time.

Coastal landscapes with waves are a great example for this technique as you can capture the instant waves splash rocks and at the same time smooth the water to create a foam-like dreamy atmosphere. Try it.

Using any photo-editing software such as Gimp or Photoshop you can load the long and short exposures as layers and using a mask brush in and out the parts that you like from each photo.

You can capture both an instant and the pass of time at the same time in a single photo, the possibilities are endless!

A Little about the History of Photography and Innovations

Photography is a word derived from the Greek words photos (“light”) and graphein (“to draw”). The word was first used by the scientist Sir John F.W. Herschel in 1839. It is a method of recording images by the action of light or related radiation onto a sensitive material.
Pinhole Camera
Alhazen (Ibn Al-Haytham) was a great authority on optics in the Middle Ages who lived around 1000AD. He invented the first pinhole camera (also called the Camera Obscura} and was able to explain why the images were upside down.

The first casual reference to the optic laws that made pinhole cameras possible was observed and noted by Aristotle around 330 BC. He questioned why the sun could make a circular image when it shined through a square hole.

The First Photograph
On a summer day in 1827, Joseph Nicephore Niepce developed the first photographic image with a camera obscura. Prior to Niepce, people just used the camera obscura for viewing or drawing purposes, not for making photographs. By letting light draw the picture, Niepce’s heliographs, or sun prints as they were called, were the prototype for the modern photograph.
Niepce placed an engraving onto a metal plate coated in bitumen and then exposed it to light. The shadowy areas of the engraving blocked light, but the whiter areas permitted light to react with the chemicals on the plate. When Niepce placed the metal plate in a solvent, gradually an image, until then invisible, appeared.

However, Niepce’s photograph required eight hours of light exposure to create and would soon fade away.

Louis Daguerre
Fellow Frenchman, Louis Daguerre was also experimenting with ways to capture an image, but it would take him another dozen years before Daguerre was able to reduce exposure time to less than 30 minutes and keep the image from disappearing afterwards.

Daguerre was the inventor of the first practical process of photography. In 1829, he formed a partnership with Niepce to improve the process Niepce had developed. In 1839, following several years of experimentation and Niepce’s death, Daguerre developed a more convenient and effective method of photography and named it after himself.
Daguerre’s daguerreotype process started by fixing the images onto a sheet of silver-plated copper. He then polished the silver and coated it in iodine, creating a surface that was sensitive to light. Then, he put the plate in a camera and exposed it for a few minutes. After the image was painted by light, Daguerre bathed the plate in a solution of silver chloride. This process created a lasting image that would not change if exposed to light.
In 1839, Daguerre and Niepce’s son sold the rights for the daguerreotype to the French government and published a booklet describing the process. The daguerreotype gained popularity quickly and by 1850, there were over seventy daguerreotype studios in New York City alone.
Negative to Positive Process
The inventor of the first negative from which multiple positive prints were made was Henry Fox Talbot, an English botanist, mathematician and a contemporary of Daguerre.

Talbot sensitized paper to light using a silver salt solution. He then exposed the paper to light. The background became black and the subject was rendered in gradations of grey. This was a negative image. And from the paper negative, Talbot made contact prints, reversing the light and shadows to create a detailed picture. In 1841, he perfected this paper-negative process and called it a calotype, Greek for beautiful picture.
Tintypes
Tintypes, patented in 1856 by Hamilton Smith, was another medium that heralded the birth of photography. A thin sheet of iron was used to provide a base for light-sensitive material, yielding a positive image.
Wet Plate Negatives
In 1851, Frederick Scoff Archer, an English sculptor, invented the wet plate negative. Using a viscous solution of collodion, he coated glass with light-sensitive silver salts.
Because it was glass and not paper, this wet plate created a more stable and detailed negative.
Photography advanced considerably once sensitized materials could be coated on plate glass. However, wet plates had to be developed quickly before the emulsion dried. In the field, this meant carrying along a portable darkroom.
Dry Plate Negatives & Hand-held Cameras
In 1879, the dry plate was invented, a glass negative plate with a dried gelatine emulsion. Dry plates could be stored for a period of time. This meant photographers no longer needed portable darkrooms and could now hire technicians to develop their photographs. Dry processes absorbed light so rapidly that the hand-held camera was now possible.
Flexible Roll Film
In 1889, George Eastman invented film with a base that was flexible, unbreakable and could be rolled. Emulsions coated on a cellulose nitrate film base, such as Eastman’s, made the mass-produced box camera a reality.
Color Photographs
In the early 1940s, commercially viable colour films (except Kodachrome) were brought to the market. These films used the modern technology of dye-coupled colours in which a chemical process connects the three dye layers together to create an apparent colour image.

Photographic Films

The first flexible roll films, dating to 1889, were made of cellulose nitrate, which is chemically similar to guncotton. A nitrate-based film will deteriorate over time, releasing oxidants and acidic gasses. It is also highly flammable. Special storage for this film is required.

Nitrate film is historically important because it allowed for the development of roll films. The first flexible movie films measured 35-mm wide and came in long rolls on a spool.

In the mid-1920s, using this technology, 35-mm roll film was developed for the camera. By the late 1920s, medium-format roll film was created. It measured six centimetres wide and had a paper backing that made it easy to handle in daylight. This led to the development of the twin-lens-reflex camera in 1929. Nitrate film was produced in sheets (4 x 5-inches), ending the need for fragile glass plates.

Triacetate film came later and was more stable, flexible as well as fireproof. Most films produced up to the 1970s were based on this technology. Since the 1960s, polyester polymers have been used for gelatine base films. The plastic film base is far more stable than cellulose and is not a fire hazard.

Today, technology has produced film with T-grain emulsions. These films use light-sensitive silver halides (grains) that are T-shaped thus rendering a much finer grain pattern. Films like this offer greater detail and higher resolution, translating to sharper images.

Advancement of Cameras

By definition, a camera is a lightproof object with a lens that captures incoming light and directs the light and resulting image towards film (optical camera) or the imaging device (digital camera).
All camera technology is based on the law of optics first discovered by Aristotle. By the mid-1500s, a sketching device for artists called the camera obscura (dark chamber) was common. The camera obscura was a lightproof box with a pinhole (later lens were used) on one side and a translucent screen on the other.
This screen was used for tracing by the artists of the inverted image transmitted through the pinhole.
Around 1600, Della Porta reinvented the pinhole camera. Apparently, he was the first European to publish any information on the pinhole camera and is sometimes mistakenly credited with its invention. Johannes Kepler was the first person to coin the phrase Camera Obscura in 1604. And in 1609, Kepler further suggested the use of a lens to improve the image projected by a Camera Obscura.
Daguerreotype Cameras
The earliest cameras used in the daguerreotype process were made by opticians, instrument makers or sometimes even by the photographers themselves. The most popular cameras utilized a sliding-box design. The lens was placed in the front box. A second, slightly smaller box slid into the back of the larger box. The focus was controlled by sliding the rear box forward or backwards. A laterally reversed image would be obtained unless the camera was fitted with a mirror or prism to correct this effect.
When the sensitized plate was placed in the camera, the lens cap would be removed to start the exposure.
Box Camera
George Eastman, a dry plate manufacturer from Rochester, New York, invented the Kodak camera. For 22 dollars, an amateur could purchase a camera with enough film for 100 shots. After use, it was sent back to the company, which then processed the film.
The ad slogan read, “You press the button, we do the rest.” A year later, the delicate paper film was changed to a plastic base so that photographers could do their own processing.
Eastman’s first simple camera in 1888 was a wooden, light-tight box with a simple lens and shutter that was factory-filled with film. The photographer pushed a button to produce a negative. Once the film was used up, the photographer mailed the camera with the film still in it to the Kodak factory where the film was removed from the camera, processed and printed. The camera was then reloaded with film and returned.
Flashlight Powder
Blitzlichtpulver or flashlight powder was invented in Germany in 1887 by Adolf Miethe and Johannes Gaedicke. Lycopodium powder (the waxy spores from club moss) was used in early flash powder.
Flashbulbs
The first modern photoflash bulb or flashbulb was invented by Austrian Paul Vierkotter. Vierkotter used magnesium-coated wire in an evacuated glass globe. Magnesium-coated wire was soon replaced by aluminium foil in oxygen. In 1930, the first commercially available photoflash bulb was patented by German Johannes Ostermeier. These flashbulbs were named the Vacublitz. General Electric also made a flashbulb called the Sashalite.
Filters – Frederick Charles Luther Wratten (1840-1926)
English inventor and manufacturer Frederick Wratten founded one of the first photographic supply businesses in 1878. The company, Wratten and Wainwright, manufactured and sold collodion glass plates and gelatine dry plates.
In 1878, Wratten invented the “noodling process” of silver-bromide gelatin emulsions before washing. In 1906, Wratten, with the assistance of Dr. C.E. Kenneth Mees (E.C.K Mees), invented and produced the first panchromatic plates in England. Wratten is best known for the photographic filters that he invented and are still named after him, the Wratten Filters. Eastman Kodak purchased his company in 1912.
35mm Cameras
As early as 1905, Oskar Barnack had the idea of reducing the format of film negatives and then enlarging the photographs after they had been exposed.
As development manager at Leica, he was able to put his theory into practice. He took an instrument for taking exposure samples for cinema film and turned it into the world’s first 35 mm camera: the ‘Ur-Leica’.
Polaroid or Instant Photos
Polaroid photography was invented by Edwin Herbert Land. Land was the American inventor and physicist whose one-step process for developing and printing photos created instant photography. The first Polaroid camera was sold to the public in 1948.
Disposable Camera
Fuji introduced the disposable camera in 1986. We call them disposables but the people who make these cameras want you to know that they’re committed to recycling the parts, a message they’ve attempted to convey by calling their products “single-use cameras.”

Innovations that changed the face of Photography

Photography as we know it today wasn’t an invention that appeared, fully formed, overnight. Rather its arrival was a gradual process over nearly a century with each step refining or moving on from the innovation that came before it. It is hard to talk of the ‘inventor’ of photography since there are so many types of process that could qualify as a ‘photograph’ and so many different starting points for each type of technology.
So here’s a list of five major innovations that have shaped our idea of photography and some of the people we should be thankful to for helping to give us the astonishing little devices we all own today.
The first colour photo
James Clerk Maxwell was born in Scotland in 1831. Throughout the scientific community he is known as the mathematician and physicist who unified the theory of electromagnetism. But Maxwell was also responsible for the first colour photograph.

The image in question is a tartan ribbon photographed by Thomas Sutton at a lecture given by Maxwell in 1861. (Sutton himself went on to invent the Single Lens Reflex camera). It was made up of three exposures through red, green and blue filters. This colour plate – and two others – are now housed in a small Museum in Edinburgh in the house where Maxwell was born.
Photography for all: The Box Brownie
When the Eastman Kodak Box Brownie was first introduced in 1900 it was marketed as low-cost and simple photography (the first cameras sold for just $1). Due to its accessibility and cheap processing the Brownie is widely regarded as having instigated the notion of a ‘snap-shot’. Bizarrely, Kodak named their egalitarian cardboard box camera after Canadian Palmer Cox’s cartoon character stories.

In 1908, Austrian architecture critic Joseph August Lux argued that the accessibility of the camera meant everyday people could document their environments and gain some sense of permanence in the hectic rise and fall of the modern world. One wonders just what Herr Lux would have made of 2012?
The 35mm revolution
The arrival of 35mm film liberated photographers, changed what could be photographed and consequently re-wrote the history of photography. Leica initially led the way with the UR and followed it with the legendary Leica I in 1925. Contax got into the game next in 1932 and were rapidly followed by Kodak in 1934 and Canon in 1936.

Earlier this year, a 1923 35mm Leica sold at auction for £1.7 million – thus making it the most expensive camera ever sold! Digital may be the future, but the 35mm legacy still pulls at our heart (and purse) strings!

The man who made time stand still
Although a form of artificial flashing light was developed in the late 19th century, it was in the early 1930s that Nebraskan engineer Harold E. Edgerton came up with a repeatable short-duration electronic flash (stroboscopic light). His strobe lights were capable of firing 120 per second and could capture balloons bursting, drops hitting the surface of water and, famously, a bullet passing through a playing card.

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These happenings were genuinely too fast for the human eye to see and so his flash technology not only changed photography, but also how we all view the world.
A billion camera phones
Whatever your opinion on everyone documenting their daily activities there is no denying the way in which the camera-phone has affected our world – and the onward development of our notion of photography. Everything in our day, from personal experiences to the news content we consume, is delivered through our camera-phones.

Animal Portraiture

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Take Portraits of your favourite cat or dog is not just a case of being snap happy and that will do. I my experience it is quite similar to trying to capture young children / toddlers that just do not want to stay still. Let them just do their own thing and you will be able to capture the true character of the cat, dog or which ever animal it is. The image above is of a previous dog of mine, he had just settled down for a snooze just before the shot was taken. The original image was one of colour, but it did not do the image any justice. So I made it a monochrome with sepia toning.

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With this portrait of a juvenile Bald Eagle, it is all about the sharpness of the subject. The most important thing to remember is to focus on the eye. Get the eye pin sharp and the rest of the job is just about composing the image. When focusing on the eye of the subject make sure you try and get a catch light in the eye. By catch light I mean catch some light to give it life.