Tag Archives: tips

Internet Safety: Are You Sure Your Privacy Hasn’t Been Breached?

The glorious world of the internet is exploding with numerous social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. I find these sites to be a great medium of communication and marketing in my profession, but there are times when the wall is breached. With social networking popularity increasing with intensity, a high rate of security breaches has also been reported. Identity theft is the most common of them all, all a predator has to do is follow the trail of personal information we leave online and trace it back to us. So don’t take this matter lightly and take responsibility to protect yourself from this bitter side of the internet.

Zulf_Photography-1024509312Beware of Sharing Too much Information

You can never be too careful with these things, especially when using the web. It seems so obvious that you should not tell your secrets to the strangers on net, but I’ve come across numerous cases on the internet where people have done the exact opposite of the obvious. They share their social security number, home address, phone number. I hope you understand what a terrible mistake it will be and how all this turn to harm you physically.

Customize Privacy settings

The social media sites provide these emotions so that the user has more control over their information. If I’m not comfortable with sharing my information, I can easily limit people from seeing it. But isn’t it better not to upload such information? If I don’t upload anything personal on the web, I wouldn’t have to spend time setting up privacy controls.

I would like to urge all the users to try and protect their data from falling into the wrong hands. So internet safety first!


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.


Comparing photos of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II with Pricing the Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM

They are fast, low-priced, and can produce some of the most pleasing images in photography.

Low aperture lenses – They are truly the tiny lenses that you can stick in your bag and take anywhere. The lightest Canon EF lenses which give your photo  that “butter like” blur in your backgrounds. Lets compare the 50mm f/1.8 II with the Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM

50mm 1.4 and 1.8-0017
Left: Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM Right: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

I found very little difference between the f/1.4 and a f/1.8 50mm image quality. I’ve used both for many years but lets drill down into the actual photo quality (pixel peep even).

  • Do the different lenses translate into better image quality?
  • All settings being equal, does one lens outperform the other?
  • Can we justify you spending the difference in price to the 1.4?

Let’s find out

For the purposes of this test we are using a issue of Lighting Magazine www.lighting.co.uk
For the purposes of this test we are using a issue of Lighting Magazine http://www.lighting.co.uk

All the images are taken handheld at a minimum of 125th shutterspeed. Both lenses are mounted on a Canon 550d Don’t forget if you have a APS-sized sensor (crop sensor) the equivalent angle of coverage of a 50mm is more like 75mm.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Overview

At around £75-85, the 50mm f/1.8 lens may be one of the most widely hyped compact, high performance standard lens in photography. So it is not a surprise that it feels like a novelty. Reminds me of a plastic cookie cutter . Not to mention the funky noises it makes when focusing, is not easy to nail your focus when shooting wide open.


Blurring the background in a picture is good

  • Isolating the subject
  • Sharp Image
  • Light

Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM

A ultrasonic motor drives auto-focus extremely quickly with near silent focusing system. a full-time manual override makes it possible to adjust focus without leaving AF mode. Sharp foreground objects stand out against a smooth blurred background. It has a great build quality, feels nice, has a smooth focus action,


  • Ultrasonic focusing
  • wide open at f/1.4
  • with full-time manual focus override
  • Smooth background blur
  • Super Spectra coating

My Views

I have used both lenses for a good few years and find myself reaching for the 1.4 more frequently. This is mainly due to its better feel and build quality. Both lenses have there place and because i started with the cheap 1.8 moving to the 1.4 and finally the ending on the 1.2. Each lens holds its own place in my setups.. It was difficult to get the camera to focus where I wanted with the 50 f/1.4. I would expect more from the more expensive 50mm f/1.4. We use the 1.2 a lot in our fashion shoots, its actually out today soo I will be doing a separate review on the 1.2 soon.

I did a quick search today to see what these lenses currently retail at. As of 29th December 2014 I found these deals available at UK photography stores, Wilkinson Cameras and Jessops.


Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Canon EF 50MM F1.8 II £72.00 – Wilkinson Cameras ( Price includes a 20% discount use code: CAN20 at checkout) Offer valid: 25/12/14 to 01/01/15

Canon EF 50mm f1.8 MK2 £74.99Jessops (offer Price Match)

Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens £278.00Jessops (offer Price Match)

Canon EF 50MM F1.4 USM £259.00Wilkinson Cameras ( Price includes a 20% discount use code: CAN20 at checkout) Offer valid: 25/12/14 to 01/01/15

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

Low Light – Fashion Catwalk Shows

The scenario: you arrive in good time and ask for a preview of the shows lighting setup.


Don’t panic, lighting is not always this bad, but… this show has no overhead lights on the runway at all.

As photographers we need to be able to adapt quickly to conditions. How do you deal with capturing a model walking down an unlit runway? By making smart decisions. If you get to know your camera settings, there are a few things that can help you…

Keep in mind that this may be a case of “making the best of a bad situation”.

Here are some quick tips to consider in low light:

  • Use a flash
  • Be creative
  • Steady your camera
  • Shoot tight
  • Position

Below I have expanded upon these points in more detail and provided samples of photos I took.

Use a Flash
If you’re using a DSLR and you have to use a flash, your best bet is to use an external flash. These flashes can be manipulated and turned to bounce off of a wall or the ceiling. So you’re lighting your subject from the top or the side, rather than directly. As you can see below, the direct flash in this situation casts a harsh light on the model and sharp shadows behind her.

Be Creative
Embrace the low light and get a little creative. Shoot to include the name of the designer in your photos and get the audience perspective of the show. Make the low light a feature of a few of your images. Silhouettes always look cool.

Steady Your Camera
Yes, sometimes the use of a flash just can’t be avoided. Get your camera on a steady surface and you can avoid the blur that inevitably spoils the photograph. My choice would be to use a mono-pod and low light flash to fill in the shadows.

Shoot Tight
Set your aperture to its widest setting, 2.8 in my case. This will allow the most light to enter your lens. Shoot at the top end of you zoom, in my case 200mm, and wait for the moment.

Position is Key
Try your best to get a different view from other photographers. By getting a close enough position, you can compose your shot to emphasise the small details and capture movement.
FashionShow_PoorLight-500200mm2.8 (2)

These photos are the “better” ones I could share to help put my tips into perspective. Keeping calm and working with what you have will pay off. You will always get a few bad shots to begin with. Learn from those and remember to capture a different perspective at the event.

Event: Asiana Bridal Show 2014
Location: Birmingham Edgbaston Stadium
Date: Sunday 30th November 2014