Fellow Photographers,

If you haven’t seen it already I released my latest VideoCast last week.  It is all about how to create stunning images of Fireworks.  You can find details of it in the blog post in this newsletter.  One thing to note is that I have a brand new YouTube channel just for my photography video.  So please subscribe to it so you will get notification of the newest videos at the earliest opportunity.

Also in this weeks newsletter is:

  • For studio photographers: a blog post about why I recommend the settings I use in the studio.
  • For theatre and performance photographers: a photo of the day with hints about creating depth to your images
  • For stock photographers: the report of a strange sale of an image to do with an old operating system

As usual we have details of forthcoming events at the studio including “High-end Studio Fashions” this Friday, and this weeks “Deal of the Day” is for December’s Digital Rain, Digital Lightning and Wet-look Glamour workshop.

For all this an more…. please read on….

Deal of Day

10% Off Digital Rain Workshop

With the remnants of hurricane Gonzalo set to bring rain and storms to the UK later today, this week’s Deal of the Day – is 10% Off the price of creating your own rain and storm images, at our “Digital Rain, Digital Lightning & Wet-look Glamour Workshop” in December.

Portia at Digital Rain Workshop at Ian’s Studio in 2013

To claim your 10% discount enter the code: GONZALO when booking the event.  The code is valid until the end of Wednesday this week.

For more information about the workshop and to book your place go to: http://www.ians-studio.co.uk/events/digital-rain-wet-look-glamour-workshop-3/  or click on the eflyer below:


Forthcoming Events

Friday, 24 October 2014 – High-End Studio Fashions

High-End Studio Fashions

Location: Ian’s Studio
Time: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Price: £25

For tonight’s studio event we are looking at photographing high-end fashion.  Working with an established fashion model with at least four different outfits/looks.  We will look at different ways to create images of the outfits and the model.

The model for this event will be Sarah Angel Angel Adesiyan.  http://purpleport.com/portfolio/sarahaadesiyan/

This will be Sarah’s third visit to the studio.  Here last visit was for a 1970’s themed night.  You can see images from that shoot here:  http://photos.imb.biz/model/shoot/sarahangel1970s

Price: £25

Please book via my website: http://www.ians-studio.co.uk/events/studio-fashions/

Friday, 31 October 2014 – Mounting and Matting

Mounting and Matting

Location: Ian’s Studio
Time: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Price: £10

Learn how to cut mats and mounts for your photographs.  I have a Longridge mount cutter at the studio, which can give accurate cuts for mounting your images.  The mount cutter is free to use for anyone who attends events at the studio, or who hires the studio.

If you have never cut your own mounts before you probably will not know just how easy it is when you use a professional mount cutter.

For tonight’s event I will show you the techniques involved, once you have been shown you are welcome to use the cutter at the studio whenever you need to cut future mounts.

Bring a couple of prints you want to mount/mat to this event.

Price: £10
Materials included in the price will be sufficient to mount either two prints unbacked or one print with backing.   Based on 50x40cm frames.  For smaller frames you may get more mounts from the material supplied.

PS: Yes, I do know the date is Halloween – if you are like me and don’t like the endless stream of kids playing trick or treat – then this is the ideal chance to get out of the house!

Please book via my website: http://www.ians-studio.co.uk/events/mounting-and-matting-2/

From the Blog…

[BLOG] Default Studio Camera Settings

“Manual Mode; ISO 100; shutter speed to 1/125s; aperture f/8 ” – those are the ‘magic settings’ I use for 90% of all the studio photographs I take.  But why?  Am I just being lazy or is there some logic to picking those as the settings?

Lets go through each of them in turn:

Manual Mode – In the studio (unless you are using some very expensive radio triggers) the only communication between camera and lights is a ‘fire now’ signal.  This means that camera doesn’t know how much light the flash is going to produce so it can’t calculate an exposure for you.  If it can’t calculate an exposure, then any form of auto-mode is useless, that includes aperture priority and shutter priority.  We need to tell the camera what settings to use.  That’s means going into manual mode.

Full Video.Still001

ISO 100 – This is probably the easiest one to explain.  ISO is the setting that describes how sensitive your camera is to light.  The higher the ISO the more sensitive it is.  The downside of that is that higher ISOs introduce noise into an image. Take a look at the two images below to see the difference increasing the ISO can make.  We want our images to be a smooth as possible so so we use as low an ISO as possible.  In the studio that is ISO 100

ISO Comparisons

Shutter Speed 1/125s – When using studio lights, your shutter speed is NOT your exposure time.  Studio lights are much faster. Your exposure time is actually the duration of the flash. The Bowens Gemini 500R studio lights I use are rated at 1/900s.  So why do we use 1/125s?  That is because we need the shutter speed to be slower than the flash sync speed.

The sync speed the fastest speed at which the entire sensor is visible all at the same time.  For most cameras this is 1/200s.  So we have to be slower than that.  1/125s just gives us a little bit of leeway to allow time the radio signal to get from the camera to the lights, the lights to respond to it, and any slave lights to be triggered by the first flash going off.

Aperture f/8 – This is possibly the most interesting.  Obviously you can use any aperture you want and set your lights accordingly.  I choose to use f/8 for most shoots for two reasons.  Firstly it gives a reasonable depth of field.  Not too shallow so that if the face is turned at an angle both eyes are in still in focus as is the rest of the facial features.  The second reason and perhaps more importantly is the fact that most lenses are at their sharpest at f/8.  So unless I want a particularly shallow depth of field or a particularly deep one, I might as well use the lens where it will give me the best results.


At the start I said these are the ‘magic settings’ in reality there is nothing magic about them.  They just happen to be the settings I prefer.  There are times I will use other settings, and plenty of photographers who use different settings.  But if you are new to studio photography they are not a bad start with – you can always adjust them to suit you.

For anyone who IS new to studio photography, you might be interested in the following event:

Saturday 15th November : http://www.ians-studio.co.uk/events/studio-photography-taster-day/

Make sure you don’t miss out on future hints and tips – please sign up to my weekly photography newsletter:

10 Steps for Stunning Fireworks Photographs

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Fireworks displays are popular the world over. Bonfire Night in the United Kingdom, 4th of July in the USA and Chinese New Year to name but a few. A great firework photograph can look spectacular and be a brilliant memory of an occasion. However, just how to do you get that amazing photo. Here are Ian’s Studio 10 Steps to Stunning Fireworks Photographs.

Firework Blast
  1. You need a tripod. The more solid it is the better. If you don’t want to carry a heavy tripod look for one with a hook on bottom of the stock so you can use your camera bag as ballast.
  2. Put your camera in Manual Mode – that’s “M” on the big dial.
  3. Set your ISO to ISO 100 – every camera does that a different way, if you don’t know how to do it on your camera check your manual.
  4. Set your aperture to f/8 – on some cameras you can do that with dial at the back, others you need to hold down a button then use the front dial.
  5. You will need a shutter speed of several seconds. If your camera has ‘bulb’ setting use that. “Bulb” keeps the shutter open for as long as you hold down the shutter release.  If your camera doesn’t have a bulb mode set an exposure of about 4 seconds – that works reasonably well.
  6. If you have a remote trigger or cable release use it so that you don’t nudge the camera during the long exposure.
  7. Auto focus won’t find anything to focus on. So set you lens to manual focus and focus on infinity. While you are switching to manual focus, turn off image stabilisation. For long exposures on a tripod it will cause the image to be blurred.
  8. If you have a zoom lens, zoom out so that you are capturing a large section of the sky where the fireworks are firing. Give yourself more space than you need. It’s better to crop the image later than loose part of the blast off the edge of the frame.
  9. As you see the firework launch into the open the shutter as the blast expands to its climax release it again. For most fireworks that is about 4 seconds.
  10. Check the image on the back of your camera – depending on how bright the pyrotechnics are you may need to adjust the aperture. If you display your histogram you want the brightest part of the firework to be just short of the right hand side. If too far to the left open up your aperture – try f/6.3. If it is over exposed close down the aperture and try say f/11. You may need to do this a couple of time to get the right exposure for the display you are photographing.
Light in the Night - Bonfire Blast
Once you have the settings you need and you know the camera is pointing at the right bit of the sky you can relax, watch the display and just keep opening up the shutter as different fireworks light up the sky. And have some great photographic memories of your night out to look back on and share with friends and family.Hope you have a great Bonfire Night and don’t forget to share your pictures with us on Twitter or Facebook.
If you found this tutorial helpful and want more free tips and hints then please sign-up to our weekly Newsletter and make sure you never miss out!

Photo of the Day

POTD Thu, 16 Oct 2014: The School for Scandal

The School for Scandal

This images is one of the shots I took at the first dress rehearsal for Stockport Garrick Theatre’s production of “The School for Scandal”.

When doing theatre photography there is a great temptation to photograph from straight on, and from part way back through the stalls. What you get with that approach is the audiences point of view, and that is essentially a two dimensional or flat veiw of the stage. I prefer to take a slightly different approach.

I want to create a depth to my theatre images. You can do that in couple of ways firstly by working relatively close to the stage you will get a slight distortion effect which make the actors at the back of the stage appear smaller in the image and thus giving a more three dimensional approach. The other approach, as shown in this image, is to shoot along the stage. This shot was take from stage left (right as the audience views it), I have use the two actors playing cards at the table as my main foreground interest in the image even though the main action on stage was actually the characters you can see in the background.

The full set of images from this production can be found here: http://photos.imb.biz/garrick/school4scandal

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a source of free photographs.
This photograph is (c) Ian M Butterfield. All rights are reserved. No use Is permitted (including non-commercial use) without prior permission. If you wish to use any of my photographs please ask first.

Image Reference: FG1016A-G12701

Recent Sales

For those who are interested in Stock Photography here’s some information about some of the strange and not so strange sales that I have made.

SALE 17 Oct 2014: Restart

Windows XP Restart screen

LICENCE: Rights Managed

This was an odd sale. It is the restart screen for Windows XP. XP is now a very old operating system. I wonder what the images is actually going to be used for. Here’s the sales data:

Country: United Kingdom
Usage: iQ sale: Magazine, Editorial print and digital use. cover and inside. Repeat use within a single issue.
Industry sector: Media, design & publishing
Start: 17 October 2014
End: 17 October 2019

Front cover and inside a magazine in the UK. If anyone spots it while looking through the newsagents, please let me know.

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a source of free photographs.
This photograph is (c) Ian M Butterfield. All rights are reserved. No use Is permitted (including non-commercial use) without prior permission. If you wish to use any of my photographs please ask first.

Image Reference: FB0101A-E00001

The Full Programme

For full details of all our fourthcomming events please use the links below or click on the event eFlyer.

Thursday, 23 October 2014 – Essential Art Nude Course
Friday, 24 October 2014 – High-End Studio Fashions
Friday, 31 October 2014 – Mounting and Matting
Friday, 7 November 2014 – The Hitman
Sunday, 16 November 2014 – Studio Photography Taster Day
Saturday, 6 December 2014 – Digital Rain & Wet-look Glamour Workshop