Fellow Photographers,

I hope you had an excellent Christmas.  The theme for this week’s newsletter really could only be one thing – 2015.  The main feature is about setting goals for the New Year.  It is something I try to do each year.  This time I am going back to an old practice of mine and publicly sharing what those goals are for 2015.

I hope you too will be setting some photography goals for the coming twelve months.  If you are please let me know what your goals are, and perhaps we can encourage each other.

I know that not every reader of this newsletter is interested in photographing models, and sometimes the photography events I run that don’t involve models can get a bit lost in among the other events.  So to readdress the balance this issue none of the four highlighted events, all of which are happening in the next five weeks, involve any models at all.

We have our usual blog extracts (video critiquing and reprossesing an image by Andi C), a recent photo of the day and a relatively recent stock sale.

So for all this…. please read on….

Your goals for 2015 (and a chance to win £15)

Bonfire Blast 2009

What are your photography goals and aims for 2015?  Let me tell you about mine and then I’ll ask you the question again.  Photography is my business and it is always good to periodically take stock of where you are and set targets.  At the start of each year I try to look back at the past 12 months and then look forward to year ahead.

Looking back

12 months ago I decided that 2014 for me should be a year of consolidation.  I didn’t want to start anything new but I did want to get to grips with what I was already doing.  It was a year to take control of the business.  I should be running the business rather than the business running me.

In the first half of 2014 I put in place procedures for managing my extensive catalogue of images.  I’ve just checked and Lightroom tells me I have 193,796 images in my catalogue! And that number of images needs managing.  Part of that was tweaks to my workflow, part of it was about my backup procedures.  The latter proving invaluable when 2 disks failed later in the year.  Most notably an HDD holding 10 years worth of images.

Working with 3Sheep

They say confession is good for the soul.  So let me confess. I think I lost my way with the training and events in the middle of the year.  I wasn’t planing very far ahead and perhaps had unrealistic expectations regarding my advertising strategies and the number of bookings I would receive for events – particularly those over the summer months.  However in the autumn my entire marketing strategy was reviewed by 3Sheep Ltd, a local company specialising assisting businesses with their digital marketing and use of social media.  The review was a little painful at times but the end result has been a more consistent approach to my use of social media and digital marketing, a relaunch of my YouTube channel, and a more forward thinking approach to planing events and workshops.  Has this worked?  Yes, definitely.  Since my sessions with 3Sheep Ltd, I have seen a rise in the number of new photographers coming to the studio, many of whom are coming back on a regular basis.  Over the last two – three months instead of cancelling events due to a lack of bookings I am seeing events selling out on a regular basis, and in one case I’ve had to rerun an event just to cope with the demand.

So as we approach the end of 2014 I feel my business is probably stronger now than it has ever been.  So what of 2015?

2015 – A Year for Growth

Where 2014 was a year of consolidation, I want 2015 to be a year of growth and expansion.  I’m not just talking about measuring growth by an increase income… though I hope that will happen too!  I want to grow and improve as a photographer and trainer.  But even more importantly I want to see the photographers I am in contact with, either through events at the studio or on-line grow and improve their skills too.

So to achieve this I’m setting myself some goals for 2015

  • Increase the number of subscribers to my photography newsletter from 367 to at least 500.
  • Publish on-line at least one photo each day – where possible with some information about how or why it was created.
  • Publish on average at least 3 videos each month to YouTube
  • Launch my paid for video based training courses via Udemy
  • Increase average bookings for events in 2015 to 80%
  • To be invited to talk on photography at six or more different groups/club/organisations.

What are your goals?

So… I told you I would ask again…. What are YOUR photography goals and aims for 2015?

Ok, so unless photography is your business your goals will look very different to mine.  One thing they should have in common with mine however is that they should be measurable.  Improve as a photographer is not a measurable goal – improvement is subjective and can’t be measured.  This time next year you should be able to look back at your goals and know whether you achieved them or not.

Exactly what they are will of course depend on what you want to achieve in 2015, but let me make a few suggestions just to get you thinking :

  • 365 photo per day challenge  – This is tough challenge. Take a new photo every day and publish it on line.  This will is the photographer’s equivalent to daily exercise.  It will help build up your photography skills – especially on those days when you are struggling for a subject.
  • 52 weekly photo challenge – same as above but only once a week – far less daunting!
  • Do a photo project – set yourself a theme and aim to photograph round that theme through out the year, and then present the results on-line, or in a photo book.
  • Obtain a recognised distinction – For example Licentateship or Associateship of the Royal Photographic Society.
  • Do X paid shoots – set yourself a target for doing a particular number of paid shoots, and then focus your attention on getting those bookings.
  • Do X number of one-to-one model shoots – Set your goal (and your budget) and have fun.
  • Attend a workshop on [Subject] – Commit to learn a new photography technique in 2015
  • Book for every event at Ian’s Studio

Ok so I’m not serious about the last one, but you get the idea – set yourself a photography goal for 2015.  If you do please let me know and we can encourage each other through the year.  No only that but I will give a £15 credit (to be used against studio hire or events/workshops at the studio) the person who has set themselves the most interesting goal for the year.

Forthcoming Events

Friday, 2 January 2015 – Focus Stacking


Location: Ian’s Studio
Time: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Price: £17

Start 2015 by learning a new photography technique – Focus Stacking

One of the limitations with macro photography is the very shallow depth of field.  At this Friday night event we will explore the use of focus stacking when doing macro photography work.

If you have your own macro lenses, or extension tubes please bring them along.  If you are a canon shooter I will have some that you can borrow.

Other kit to bring: tripod and focusing rails if you have them.  (Don’t panic if you don’t as I have both at the studio that you can use).  If you wish to follow through the focus stacking techniques on your own laptop you are welcome to bring that along too.

Once we have taken a set of images, I will guide you through techniques for combining the images together to get that all important wide depth of field.

Price £15

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

Tuesday, 13 January 2015 – Mounting and Matting – Rerun Again!


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

When this event was re-run in November 2014 the event was oversubscribed.  I am therefore rerunning the event on January 13th 2015, for those who were unable to come to the previous run of the event.

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.  It is best if your images are no larger than 12x16in

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.

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

Friday, 6 February 2015 – RPS Distinctions Night


Location: Ian’s Studio
Time: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Price: £15

Something a bit different for this “Friday Night at the Studio” event.  I keep getting people asking me what is involved in getting an LRPS or and ARPS from the Royal Photographic Society.  At this event I will explain the process.  I will show you my LRPS and ARPS panels and provide you with some feedback/critique on any panels you are planing to submit to the society.

This event is a rerun of the RPS distinctions night that I ran a year ago.  Those who attended last time found the event very helpful in preparing their submissions.

Please Note: Although I am a member of the RPS and I have an ARPS distinction.  I hold no position with the RPS and this session is not authorised by the RPS.  The views expressed are my own and are based on lessons I learned while preparing my own images for submission.

Price: £15

Please book via my website: http://www.ians-studio.co.uk/events/rps-distinctions-night-3/

Saturday, 7 February 2015 – Lightroom Training Day


Location: Ian’s Studio
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Price: £65

Learn Adobe Photoshop Lightroom in one day. This intensive and extensive training day will equip you to get the best out Lightroom and will help you streamline your photography workflow.

Attendees may wish to be bring a laptop with with Lightroom installed, to follow the through the training on their own screens.

All participants will get printed notes.

Cost: £65.00  (Price includes lunch)

Topics covered include:

The Lightroom Philosophy

Learn to work the Lightroom way.

Configuring Lightroom

Set-up options you MUST change
Where to store your files
Setting up metadata defaults

Library Module

DAM – Digital Asset Management – what is it? Why do I need it?
Finding images
The filter bar
– Getting images into Lightroom
– Naming conventions
– DNG – what is it? Why convert to DNG?
Setting metadata
– Using the panels
– Using the painter
– Using presets
– Synchronising metadata
– Saving metadata!
Using keywords and keyword hierarchies
Reviewing your images
– Flags and ratings
Collections and smart collections

Develop Module

Understanding the adjustment panels (we go through each panel in turn an look at what it can do.)
Using adjustment brushes, graduated filters and other editing tools
Using presets
Snapshots, history and virtual copies

Output Modules

Slide show

Exporting Images

Export & Publish – what’s the difference.

Workflow hints and tips

Using keyword to mange workflow

Please book via my website: http://www.ians-studio.co.uk/events/lightroom-training-day-2/

From the Blog…

[Video 018] Photo Critique – Gormley Sunset by Andi C

I was starting to think this video was cursed.  I recorded it.  Wasn’t happy with the recording.  Re-recorded it.  Lost the recording when my SD card died.  Re-recorded it again.  Edited it.  Premiere crashed.  Re-edited it.  And finally at long, long last – I have been able to upload and make public…. [Video 018] Photo Critique – Gormley Sunset by Andi C

This video is actually two videos in one – the first part of the video is a critique of the image submitted by Andi, the second half I go through an alternative way of post-processing it in Lightroom. I cover a number of Lightroom tools that don’t often get mentioned including curves and split-toning.

Please subscribe to the video feed on YouTube.  Also please subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more Photography Hints, Tips and How-Tos.

For the best way to view the video – please click the full screen icon and veiw in HD.

Custom Thumbnail

What do you think about this video?  Did you find it helpful?  Please comment here on my blog page; or comment on the video page on YouTube and let me know your thoughts.

Photo of the Day

POTD Thu, 4 Dec 2014: Noises Off

Noises Off

One of the images from the dress rehearsal of Noises Off at Stockport Garrick. Amazing show. Very clever set transformation which is all done in view of the audience. You can see my full set of images from the show here: http://photos.imb.biz/garrick/noisesoff

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: FG1204A-G14766

Stock 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 24 Nov 2004: Climbing to the temple of Hathor at Sarabit al-Khadim

Climbing to the temple of Hathor at Sarabit al-Khadim

LICENCE: Rights Managed

In 2004 I went on a holiday/expedition to follow the route of the Biblical exodus. As part of the trip we camped in the Sinai Desert for two nights and on the day between we climbed to what is perhaps the most remote temple in all Egypt. Hathor Temple at Serabit al-Khadim. As part of the journey we had to pass a long a narrow rocky path, clinging to the rock face. I grabbed this image of two of the members of our party being helped by an Egyptian guide. Later that year the image sold via Alamy. I would love to know in what context the image was used.

24 Nov 2004
Country: World Excluding USA
Usage: Editorial
Media: Textbook – print only
Industry sector: Retail books/magazines/newspapers
Sub-Industry: Miscellaneous
Print run: up to 50,000
Placement: Inside
Image Size: 1/8 page
Start: 01 April 2005
End: 01 April 2008

Alamy link: http://www.alamy.com/image-details-popup.asp?Imageid={D2B921B3-8862-4F1A-B62C-3702B938AF9A}

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: EW0506B-D01871

The Full Programme

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

Friday, 2 January 2015 – Focus Stacking
Friday, 9 January 2015 – Steam Punk
Sunday, 11 January 2015 – Introduction to DSLR Photography Course
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 – Mounting and Matting – Rerun Again!
Friday, 16 January 2015 – Bodyscapes
Saturday, 17 January 2015 – Boudoir Workshop
Friday, 23 January 2015 – Three Lights Three Points
Friday, 6 February 2015 – RPS Distinctions Night
Saturday, 7 February 2015 – Lightroom Training Day
Friday, 13 February 2015 – Friday the Thirteenth – Part 2 – Fear Factor!
Friday, 20 February 2015 – Clear Slime Nude
Saturday, 21 February 2015 – Messy Day
Friday, 20 March 2015 – Glamour Girl Night
Saturday, 21 March 2015 – Art Nude Workshop
Tuesday, 21 April 2015 – Intermediate Photography Course (8 Sessions)
Friday, 24 April 2015 – Shooting Silhouettes
Saturday, 25 April 2015 – Introduction to Wedding Photography Workshop
Monday, 4 May 2015 – 120:20 Challenge: Manchester
Saturday, 9 May 2015 – Night Photography Workshop
Sunday, 10 May 2015 – Comprehensive Studio Photography Course
Friday, 15 May 2015 – Pregnancy Night – With Maude
Friday, 19 June 2015 – Falling Down and Floating Up
Saturday, 5 September 2015 – Learn to Use Your flash Workshop
Saturday, 19 September 2015 – Digital Rain & Wet-look Glamour Workshop
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 – In-Depth Art Nude Course
Saturday, 10 October 2015 – Messy Art Nude Workshop
Saturday, 24 October 2015 – Studio Photography Taster Day

Don’t forget our referral programme

£10 for each new photographer you refer to the studio who goes on to book for an event, workshop or course. More details here.