Fellow Photographers,

It’s Monday and time for this weeks newsletter.  That came round quickly!  Last week has been a busy week for me and the results of that can be seen in today’s newsletter.  The week started with me giving talk and live demo of strobist techniques at South Manchester Camera Club.  You can see one of the images from that event in the Photo of the Day section.  This was followed by writing a some new “how to blog posts” one of which, all about setting your camera dioptre, is included in this newsletter.  I have released a new YouTube video on how to take substitute exposure readings.  In addition to all this I have also added another three studio events to the forthcoming events.

This week is set to be just as busy for me.  I’m going to be filming some new tutorial videos for my YouTube channel.  Please subscribe to it for the earliest notification of when the videos are released.  On Wednesday evening I’m going to be showing people how to photograph fireworks and bonfires at our Stockport’s  Bonfire Blast event, and of course at the end of the week we have our regular Friday Night at the Studio event.  This week’s event is a “The Hitman” with male model Darren S.

It is worth noting that if you are thinking of coming to The Hitman event or the following Friday’s Unusual Underwear event you might want to book quickly as both events are now over half full.

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

Deal of Day

15% off Studio Taster Day

I am pleased to announce this week’s special offer is 15% off the price for our Studio Taster day. To claim the discount either book and pay on-line using the code TASTE15 the code is valid till 23:59 on Sunday 9th November.

There will be two different 3hrs sessions.  Each session will highlight different aspects of studio photography work.

Printed notes and lighting diagrams will be provided for all the topics and set-ups that we cover during the taster day.

  • Morning session only:  £36 …. £30.60
  • Afternoon session only: £42 …. £35.70
  • Both sessions: £75 …. £63.75

A buffet lunch will be provided for anyone booking to attend both sessions.

No previous studio experience is necessary.

For full details and to book your place please go to: http://www.ians-studio.co.uk/events/studio-photography-taster-day/

Forthcoming Events

Friday, 7 November 2014 – The Hitman

The Hitman

Location: Ian’s Studio
Time: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Price: £27

At tonight’s Friday Night at the Studio event we will have a vigilante, a hitman, an assassin, and a boxer – all in the form of male model Darren S.

Darren is a popular NW Male model with (at the time of writting) 38 out of 38 positive reviews of Purpleport.  Darren does lots of styles but he is particularly know for his “hard man” looks and style.  And that is the theme we will be shooting tonight.

You can see Darren’s profile on Purpleport here: http://purpleport.com/portfolio/darrens/?referrer=ianbutty

As always lighting and settings will be explained to those who need it – so this event is suitable for experienced studio shooters and first time shooters.  The usual opportunities will be available for those who want the opportunity to set up lights themselves.

Tea, coffee and biscuits are also available.  Maximum number of spaces will be 7.

Price: £27

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

Friday, 14 November 2014 – Unusual Underwear

Unusual Underwear

Location: Ian’s Studio
Time: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Price: £32

For tonight’s Friday Night at the Studio event we will be taking a different approach to lingerie and boudoir photography.  Our model for the evening will be “Calamity” and she will be bring with her a collection of unusual underwear including a studded bra see-through body stockings.

You can find Calamity’s profile on purpleport here:  http://purpleport.com/portfolio/calamity/?referrer=ianbutty (NSFW) – Calamity will be working to topless levels for this event.

For part of the shoot we will use some of the boudoir props to create a setting for the images.

We don’t have a permanent boudoir set… (I just don’t have the space to do that) however…. I do have a collection of props which when put together can create a very convincing boudoir set.   These include:

  • A bed (made from six storge boxes, and bed headboard)
  • A trifold screen
  • A wall papered wall
  • A bit of skirting board
  • A Venetian blind
  • A very short chaise-longue
  • A couple of different rugs
  • A variety of different drapes and materials

I have also used standard background papers (to act as backgrounds and wall papers) and a sofa.

The advantage of this approach is that we can customise the set each time it is needed.

Take a look at this set of images they show just some of the ways the different props can be combined and lit.
http://photos.imb.biz/model/genre/boudoir  (NSFW)

Maximum number of photographers will be 7.

Price: £32

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

From the Blog…

Remember, remember, the fifth of November!

Just a quick reminder – I will be at  the “Bonfire Blast” in Stockport on Wednesday, sharing my experience in photographing the fireworks, the bonfire and the event itself.  You’ll need to pay to enter the event, but there is no charge for the photography advice I will be sharing.

Bonfire Blast 2009

If you are coming to the event and want to meet up you here’s where you will find me

  • 6pm and 6.15pm – just inside the main event entrance (top right corner)
  • 6.30pm – 7pm – The bonfire is lit at 6.30pm.  I will be round the bonfire taking photographs of the fire.
  • 7.30pm – I will be on the hill to the left of the stage photographing fireworks.

If you planing to meet up with me please let me know so that I can look out for you.

The prices for 2014 are:  £4 per adult, £7 for a family ticket (2 adults + 2 kids of the same family, or 1 adult and 3 children),  £3 for OAP & ages 11-16, £1 for children 10 & under.

Things to bring: Camera, tripod, remote trigger/cable release (if you have one), wellies or boots (it gets muddy), warm clothing and gloves.

For more information about the event including where to park see the event organisers page or click the graphic above.

If you haven’t yet watched my 10 Step Guide to photographing fireworks you see it here:

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[Blog] Set your Dioptre – or How to See Clearly

Do you have trouble with focusing when looking through your view finder? I have come across this problem with a few photographers who have told me that they always use live view because what they see through the viewfinder is out of focus.  If this sounds familiar to you it might be because you need to adjust your camera’s dioptre (or diopter if you are in the US).

The problem is all our eyes are different, and you need to calibrate your viewfinder to your eyes.  To do this there is a little adjustment wheel next to the view finder.  This is the dioptre control.


The easiest way to set this is to look through your viewfinder while pointing the camera at a plain wall or blank piece of paper.  It doesn’t matter if the wall is in focus or not… in fact it will be easier if the wall is out of focus.  What I recommend you do is get close to the wall and set your camera to manual focus and focus on infinity – this will put the wall out of focus.

You need to concentrate on the display within the viewfinder – I tend to look at the focus points.


Dioptre need adjusting.


Dioptre is in focus.

If the focus points look like the image on the left then you need to adjust the dioptre.  Turn the little wheel until they look clear and in focus (as shown on the image on the right).

The dioptre adjustment is typically -1.5 to +1.5 and that will be sufficient for most people, especially if you don’t normally use spectacles or you wear your specs when using your camera.

If however you remove your specs to use your camera you may find you reach the limit of what the dioptre adjustment can achieve and the image still isn’t in focus.  If that happens then, you will need an dioptic adjustment lens for your view finder.  They come in different strengths for either long sighted or short sighted photographers.  If you don’t know what strength adjustment lens you need your optician should be able to tell you.

If you found this blog post useful and want more photography hints and tips like this then please subscribe to my YouTube channel and my free weekly newsletter.

[Video] Substitute Exposure – Dark Helicopter, Bright Sky

I’ve said it many times on this blog – cameras are stupid, really stupid.  And here’s a case in point – if you are trying to photograph a dark subject against a bright sky, the camera will almost certainly get the exposure wrong.  The solution to his is to take what is called a substitute exposure reading.

Some time ago I was walking in Edale in Derbyshire and came across a helicopter collecting stone for footpath restoration.  The helicopter was dark, the sky was very bright.  Time to use a substitute reading to get the exposure correct.  Fortunately I had my video camera with me and was able to capture the the process.

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Here’s a summary of the steps:

  1. Put your camera in manual mode, and select a suitable ISO and shutter speed.
  2. Point the camera at something that is a mid-tone eg grass and fill the frame with it.
  3. Adjust the aperture until the little pointer at the bottom of your view finder is set to zero
  4. Take a test shot
  5. Adjust the aperture up or down if necessary.

Here’s some of the images from the shoot:

You can find the full gallery of images here: http://photos.imb.biz/other/edale-helicopter

I started out by saying that cameras are stupid – really stupid.  Well I have to confess that so are photographers who try to photograph helicopters…. watch the video to the very end for the outtakes and you will see what I mean!

If you found the video useful and want more photography hints and tips like this then please subscribe to my YouTube channel and my free weekly newsletter.

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 27 Mar 2014: Music at a medieval fair. A woman plays a hurdy gurdy

Music at a medieval fair. A woman plays a hurdy gurdy

LICENCE: Rights Managed

This image has sold twice within the space of a year. Both to Poland, and both for a text book. Looking at the sales data I would guess that that the the second sale might be a reprint of the original book. Let hope they need to do even more reprints in the future!

13 Aug 2013
Country: Poland
Usage: Editorial
Media: Textbook – print only
Print run: up to 250,000
Placement: Inside
Image Size: 1 page
Start: 01 July 2013
End: 01 July 2018

27 Mar 2014
Country: Poland
Usage: Editorial
Media: Textbook – print only
Print run: up to 5,000
Placement: Inside
Image Size: 1 page
Start: 01 February 2014
End: 01 February 2019


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: EX0619A-D04115

The Full Programme

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

Friday, 7 November 2014 – The Hitman
Friday, 14 November 2014 – Unusual Underwear
Sunday, 16 November 2014 – Studio Photography Taster Day
Friday, 21 November 2014 – Fascinating Fascinators
Friday, 28 November 2014 – Create Your Own Art Nude Posing Guide
Friday, 5 December 2014 – From Concept to Creation
Saturday, 6 December 2014 – Digital Rain & Wet-look Glamour Workshop
Friday, 12 December 2014 – All You Need Are Strobes