Tag Archives: How to

Birmingham Instagram Photo locations

How to get the best photos in Birmingham

Thinking of visiting the UK don’t forget to stop by in Birmingham. Here are 6 locations in Birmingham, UK for cool Instagram photos.

Here you can join me as I show some of the lesser known photo spots in the UK.

3 Photography Tips for Beginners

There could be a lot of confusion and disastrous results for those new to photography. The complex controls, the confusing manual, and the oh-so bewildering settings! That can be too much, especially for those just starting out, so here are some useful tips to help you through this time.

The Quality of your Camera

Don’t stress out if you don’t have high tech camera and equipment. Well, it’s true that the right camera will provide the best pictures, but it’s more than just that. The right angle, the perfect light and what you include in the frame will make the picture more stunning.

50mm 1.4 and 1.8 full-7238

I for one believe that every camera can take a good and high quality picture, but if you have the skills and knowledge, every insignificant picture can be made into a stunning masterpiece. Take my word for it!

Watch the Light

The right light can make drastic changes in the quality of photos – worst of all times to take photos is the midday. The harsh sunlight exposes every little imperfection of the skin and your subjects would appear dull and tired. I prefer to start my day with a few shots in the early sun but the golden glow at sunset also provides great light. Creative Campaign

The light glow makes the dims the features of the subjects but it gives a great look. Just use lighting to your benefit. A useful tip; use flash even during the day.

Don’t be Afraid to Make Mistakes

Come on, no one expects you to get it right on the first go, start slow and you’ll learn with every mistake you make. Actually, that’s what I did; every other photographer does this and in my opinion that’s the right way.

Pure Heaven-028small

You can’t just wake up one day and start taking great photos. So give it time, don’t rush yourself and in case you make any mistake, take it as a stepping stone and learn from it.


How to Adapt Memory Cards

With the vast range of memory cards these days it’s hard to get a real idea of which you need for which device.

Most gadgets take varying types and sizes of memory cards. We find ourselves not being able to use the same memory card across our devices and gadgets.

Did you know cards can be adapted to enable a smaller card to be used in an item designed to house a larger one?

Here’s a quick example of my Micro SD and Micro SDHC adapter.

Micro SD and Micro SDHC adapter.

Micro SD cards are about a quarter of the size of a standard SD card and are most commonly used in mobile phones. I use the Micro SDHC to SDHC card adapter to use my phone and tablet cards in my integrated laptop SDHC reader.

I checked the speed with and without the adapters and the write speed was unchanged.

Chosen carefully, an adapter is a handy accessory to have available, which can be used to service a range of electronic gadgets simply and reliably.

Photos: Zulf Photography

How to get the best from your laptop’s battery life?

Laptop Battery LifeOverview

In my photography workflow I use a wide range of machines. My main desktop is an AMD Octa-core, I mainly use that for my processor heavy tasks. However I rely more on my Laptop for day to day tasks.

My support portfolio device is a Samsung tablet and i have a blackberry mobile too. My go-to machine for quick edits, emails and social media is my trusty old Lenovo Thinkpad T410 i5 Laptop.

You will notice I have an android tablet, blackberry phone and no apple products in my office or household. I’m not a big Apple fan, just not my cup of tea.

Anyway this is my Laptop, it is relatively old first came out in 2011-12. It copes well with my custom little upgrades. I upgraded my battery to the 9 cell one which replaces the standard 6 cell one. You will see below I easily get 7.5 hours of battery life on moderate daily tasks.

I think it’s fair to say we always want to get the best from our battery life.

Here are my tips

  • Start up – Every program or service that loads up each time you boot in Windows consumes system resources, you should disable the ones you don’t need.
  • Fresh boot – once you disconnected from the power source reboot from the battery. This lets all the components in the machine know you are defiantly on battery power.
  • Dim your screen – The display on your laptop uses the most energy. When you disconnect the power cord, it’s best to dim the brightness down below half or even less than half.
Power options – Dim your Screen
  • Stop programs running in the background.- All the background programs add to the CPU load and cut down battery life.
  • Take out CDs or DVD’s – Having a CD or DVD in the drive can be power consuming. They spin, taking power, even when they are not actively being used.
  • Hibernate not sleep – Hibernating a PC will actually save your current programs and completely shut itself down.
  • Don’t multitask – Do one thing at a time when you’re on battery. Set your mind to one thing only. If you don’t you’ll only drain out your batteries before any actual work gets done.

If you have a little money to spend

  • Bigger battery – Some models let you buy larger batteries. I got a 9 cell battery to replace my old 6 cell one and i easily get 7.5 hours of battery on moderate tasks.
  • Upgrade to a SSD– they use significantly less power than hard drives. Their energy efficiency can deliver longer battery life in notebooks, less power strain on system.

All these tips have worked for me, I thought its only fair to share them. They have allowed me to go out with my windows 7 i5 Lenovo T410 laptop and not worry about charging for a easy 5-6 hours (on typical uses). I am aware of other laptops out there that quote higher battery life. (Chromebook 6.5 hours of battery life). Keep in mind the Chrome OS is very limited. Its all down to how you use the laptop and tasks you do.

Black and White Photography Tips

It’s important to develop your own style. I have been lucky enough to expand on my black and white photography skills within the context of my projects.

Shooting black and white helps you to concentrate on the key elements of your image. It brings out shapes and shadows that are often lost in colour photos.

Take more photos: try and understand what makes your good photos actually good.

Things to remember

  • Low ISO
  • Shoot in RAW
  • Look for timeless subjects
  • Keep sharp where it counts
  • Tell a story

Here we have my short pictorial story of Pete from Excalibur Steel Works.

Tea Break


Tools of the trade


Magical Welder


Magical Welder

How to Isolates your subjects?

It always looks amazing when you draw attention to a single element of the image and isolate the subject nicely.

You can use the isolating technique in different creative ways. Here are a few pointers on how to get started “on creating an isolated look”.

  • Look for subjects which have distance between them and the background
  • Use the lowest F-number available on your lens
  • Lights in the background give a nice background bokeh (blur)
  • Steady the camera or use high shutterspeeds

If you’re unsure on depth of field check out my explanation here (I use my collection of cars as subjects).

Here are a few photos to show you what it would look like if you truly crack the look.

Photo shot with Canon 5d MK2 with a Canon 50mm 1.8 @1.8

Exhibition Catalog | Kandinsky and the Harmony of Silence – http://www.splicedesigngroup.com

Photo shot with Canon 5d MK2 with a Canon 50mm 1.4 @1.4

1.4 fullframe-7260
Birmingham Library Book Trolly

Photo shot with Canon 5d MK2 with a Canon 50mm 1.4 @1.4

BPYC Birmingham Mela Event 2014


How to get Depth of Field in your photo?

Here I will cover the basics of depth of field and background photo blur. It’s something that can take a while to get your head around. I may do a more in depth explanation or a video at some point.

Depth of field refers to a part of the image which remains sharp while the remainder is out of focus (blurred out). You use selective focus to make parts of a photo stand out by changing the aperture and increasing your image’s depth of field.

Left: Blue Maserati Coupe, Silver Nissan GTR, White BMW M1, Red Dodge Viper Convertible, 50p for scale

Your camera will only focus its lens at a single point when taking a photo. I’ve used some of my cars to help give you a visual aide to support my explanation.

In the below sample my red Viper is the “depth of field” because it is sharp compared to the background cars, which are both nicely blurred out.


It always looks and feels different depending on your type of camera, aperture and focusing distance. There are generally two fields of view:

  • Shallow (where only a narrow zone appears sharp)
  • Deep (where more of the picture appears sharp)

Below is a set of photos shot at different apertures; it should help give you an idea of how the f-number affects the depth of field in the photo.