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Tag Archives: Phil Hill

Why Good Photography Isn’t About the Gear

I was out in Australia over Christmas and I wish I had met up with Phil Hill, he sounds like someone I would get along with. Here, on the excellent Lightstalking site,  he makes some very fine points about equipment. I think he would probably agree with my often mentioned one liner, “if you don’t like your pictures don’t blame your camera”

With the release of the Nikon d800 and the Canon 5d mk3 many people will have no doubt begun checking their bank statements a bit more carefully and thinking about increasing that credit limit by a measly few thousand.

This got me thinking, how many bells and whistles do you actually need to take a great photograph anyway? Too many cameras are now available with enough fancy settings to give the geekiest of technology nerd’s nightmares…..With this in mind I decided I would go out and shoot some landscapes with my girlfriend’s entry level and well-used Canon 1000d and its bog standard 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens…more

Here is one of Phil’s pictures to illustrate this article

City-Beach-Perth-Australia-7042City Beach Lifeguard tower. f22 @ 3.2 sec ISO 400 ©Phil Hill

he concludes his article with The bottom line of course is that to become technically proficient at taking photographs all you really need is the ability to control aperture and shutter speed and you can do that for far less money than many of the cameras on the market will openly admit too. Think of it as if learning to play football brilliantly barefoot, then going out to get a gleaming pair of boots – bells and whistles will only complement a solid set of skills.

So if you have a camera and you don’t understand why your pictures aren’t great you might want to take a course, here is a link to our current schedule

Freelance travel and editorial photographer originally from the UK but find myself in Western Australia, Based in the amazing Scarborough, Perth, WA.

10 Inspirational Photo Books

I am a great believer that looking at the work of important photographers is one of the best way to expand your horizons, to understand what it is to be a photographer and to improve.

This article By over on Lighstalking makes the same point. We all have our favourites but I have a number of the books Phil recommends. It is easy to be amazed by beautiful decorative images of landscapes and flowers but these don’t often make us think beyond, “that is beautiful” and photography as a creative art has to offer more than just beauty. No Ansel Adams here

I really wanted to inspire some photographers out there with some truly great work – photography that made me pick up my first camera.

To do this I have turned to one of traditional forums for displaying photographs; the photo book. Nothing quite beats sitting quietly with a hot drink and flicking the pages of a book packed full of incredible images. There are a huge amount of fantastic books out there, an inexhaustible list in fact. I have compiled 10 of my personal favourites, books that have aided my own photographic journey.

The Americans – Robert Frank

The Americans, Robert Frank

They should hand this out with every new camera sale! A lesson in editing, Frank shot 28,000 images for the book with only 83 ending up in the published book, and every one of those is a brilliant look at 1950’s American life warts and all.

Last Resort – Martin Parr

Last Resort, Martin Parr

Challenging the traditional view of documentary photography, Parr takes you through a surreal and very funny tour of English resort town New Brighton. Street photography at its absolute best.

Guide – William Eggleston

Guide, William Eggleston

William Eggleston’s Guide was one of the first publication’s to feature colour photography. The book may almost be dismissed as a collection of snap shots, however the more you look and look, the more it makes sense. Fantastic book.

Off the top of my head I would add these and when I have more time I will add more

10 Photography Pet Hates – It’s All About Being Professional

This rather accurate article comes from Lightstalking

This is a guest post by Phil Hill, a travel photographer from the UK based in Australia. You can see more of Phil’s great work at his travel photography blog or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

If you fancy yourself as a pro then you have got to raise your game, and raise it high. I have a few pet hates within the photography world, things that make you look plain un-professional and professionalism is paramount.

Purely my own opinion of course, some of my gripes have been properly executed by many (professionally) and readily create fantastic imagery, just steer clear from these clichés and already you will be a step ahead.

‘Be wary of selective colour’

Click Here: 10 Photography Pet Hates – It’s All About Being Professional

Why Good Photography Isn’t About the Gear

It is an often used phrase, “all the gear and no idea” It comes from the process that finds people who are dissatisfied with their photography buying more and more equipment in an attempt to get around the basic premise that learning how to use a camera is the only way to be a photographer, you cannot buy experience and so much about photography is the experience that is in your head. In class, when teaching our Understanding Your DSLR course I tell my students that if they don’t like their pictures it is not the camera’s fault and buying a better camera/lens/etc will only mean that you make more expensive mistakes.

© Keith Barnes

This article by on Lightstalking covers similar ground but with an interesting twist. I don’t agree with his contention that having a camera which offers a fully manual setting of aperture and shutter is the answer. I don’t understand why photographers who have been trained in the days of film, often without aperture and shutter priority, insist on students using manual, “because that was the way their tutors learned the process”. The idea of control, complete control is essential but the fully manual mode just slows you down (sometimes no bad thing), I always explain to students that understanding aperture priority and the ability to adjust exposure using exposure compensation or better auto exposure lock when time is tight is the most important lesson I can teach them. The same of course applies to shutter priority. Back to the author ‘s twist, he eschewed his own pro camera and went out with an entry level dslr to see if he could still get good pictures.

Phil Hill, a travel photographer from the UK based in Australia. You can see more of Phil’s great work at his travel photography blog or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

“With the release of the Nikon d800 and the Canon 5d mk3 many people will have no doubt begun checking their bank statements a bit more carefully and thinking about increasing that credit limit by a measly few thousand.

This got me thinking, how many bells and whistles do you actually need to take a great photograph anyway? Too many cameras are now available with enough fancy settings to give the geekiest of technology nerd’s nightmares.

Lets face it, these days 99% of photographs will never see printed paper, ending up on an innumerable amount of social networking sites, converting a large file from a full frame ultra mega pixel machine into web ready kilobytes and a pixelated 72dpi. Shooting poor images wont change from mobile to DSLR, your rubbish (and mine) will just be higher definition.”

With this in mind I decided I would go out and shoot some landscapes with my girlfriend’s entry level and well-used Canon 1000d and its bog standard 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens. I figure as long as any camera can go fully manual in ‘M’ mode, I should be able to capture good images without having to resort to using the bell setting or even it’s whistle feature.”..…MORE

Canon 1000d

………The bottom line of course is that to become technically proficient at taking photographs all you really need is the ability to control aperture and shutter speed and you can do that for far less money than many of the cameras on the market will openly admit too. Think of it as if learning to play football brilliantly barefoot, then going out to get a gleaming pair of boots – bells and whistles will only complement a solid set of skills.”

Click Here: Why Good Photography Isn’t About the Gear