Aberavon Seafront Sunset Photography Shoot

On September 29th I decided to pop out for some sunset photography with a couple of friends. I also wanted to try out my Viltrox 23mm F/1.4 and 85mm F/1.8 lenses out in the evening and on the darkness that followed. I shot a lot of images that night, mostly because I bracketed a lot of images using exposure bracketing, but I learned a lot from doing that which I will explore in a future blog post.

I’ve chosen 16 images from the evening that I like. Of course, if you’re a photographer you should always like your images where possible. On this night, although the sunset wasn’t perfect, I had images that interest me. There’s a saying that if you have one image you like each time you go out you should be happy, but I think that was said by some bad photographers, as there’s always something to photograph, and if you don’t like what you’re taking photos of, then why bother taking the photograph in the first place?

These images were edited from the raw file of my Fujifilm X-T20 in Luminar 4. If you are interested in trying Luminar 4, or any Skylum products, then if you click here you can have exclusive free trials and money off. If you decide to buy any product from Skylum (Luminar, Aurora etc) then use code GPWNPT at the checkout for £$€10 off the product. You’ll be helping me by visiting the link, or using the code, as it gives me the opportunity to try their new products to try and review.

Luminar 4 is an all in one Lightroom replacement, with full library features, cataloguing and advanced editing tools. The software is also famous for its Artificial Intelligence, and has amazing sky replacements, portrait AI and so much more. Whether you’re a complete novice or advanced professional, Luminar is used by people like you if you want great results, fast!

Please view the images full screen for the best experience, you’ll also find full EXIF data for each photo.

These images were taken at Aberavon in Port Talbot, South Wales. Aberavon is a coastal area, with mountains within a mile or two behind the sea. It has some of the best sunsets Wales has to offer, with a variety of landscape opportunities, a small town, great architecture and much more. It’s close to the market town of Neath, and the large city of Swansea

A lot of my photography is based in this area as I live right next to the sea, a few hundred yards from where some of these were taken. I never tire of the opportunity of photographing the area, documenting it at every opportunity.

— As usual, if you like what you see, please like, share and comment. It inspires me to carry on with my photography and my blogs. I am an affiliate for Luminar 4, so just checking out the links in the article will help me promote this great software!

Minimalistic Photography Shoots

Photography is an ever expanding journey into discovery. Standing still makes you become boring, so it’s nice to get out of your comfort zone and do things a little different on times. For these images I didn’t deliberately go out of my way to get something different, but due to circumstances and editing technique, the photos formed a series which I quite like, and may expand on in the future.

The photos were mostly take on my Fujifilm X-T20 using various film simulations for the most part, although there is one photograph from my Nikon camera and one from my Huawei Phone as well. The style for these is minimalistic and artistic, hopefully standing out a little different from my usual photographs.

The first seven photographs were edited in Snapseed during my downtime, while the eighth was edited in Photoshop 2020. I will use whichever editing software I have with me at the time, quite often using Snapseed to just try out ideas. Quite often though, as here, I will keep the final results without going into any other software. All images except the final image were edited from the camera jpeg.

Please view them full screen on your computer to see their beauty. All images come with EXIF data.

I believe variety is the spice of life, and that includes what I shoot, what I shoot it with and what I edit it in. A photographer can become to boring using one thing all the time, or staying to one type of editing style. You have to keep it interesting, you have to edit for your wall and you have to print out your photos to really understand where you are going with your photography.

— If you enjoyed this blog post, please check out my other blog entries. If you want to view only photographs, then go to my Photos Page, where you can view all the photos in blogs that I have put up for you to view. Please remember to like, share and comment if you liked what you seen! New blog entries at least twice a week, so subscribe too!

Edit Photographs For Your Wall And Become Successful

Photography is a fun past time for a lot of people, but sometimes it’s nice to sell a photograph. Selling requires a number of things to be successful; a great and interesting subject, the right price and a fine edit. Use the “Edit For Your Wall” philosophy and you’re on to a winner!

If one of those points is wrong, chances are you won’t sell on a regular basis. The first two points are simple enough, although you may not always be able to tell if you are right or wrong until discussing with someone who is totally impartial (such as your partner, or kids, or friends).

Point one, is the subject. You may find it totally mind blowing, but see what the reaction is from a number of people! For the second point, stick to your guns on prices for your work, people will pay whatever you ask if your work is good enough!

The final point is the hardest. You may have your own editing style, but for selling you may need to tweak your style. When people are looking for photographs to buy, they are usually looking for mostly one thing… How that photo will look on their wall! It doesn’t matter if you think you have the best photograph ever, if it’s not edited with being hung on the wall in mind, it just want be as successful.

This all depends on your subjects of course. People generally love bright and dramatic sunsets, or life-like but sharp flowers, or portraits that are complementary to the person’s features etc. Of course not all people are the same, but over time you will discover which editing technique brings more attention or more sales.

Keep it simple, edit as if the photograph is for your wall. Think what others around you would think. Try and think the same as your target audience. And most importantly, still do what you like to do for yourself, as that’s your pleasure.

— If this has inspired you, or given you thought, please leave a comment, like and follow for more photography related posts.

Clydach Canal Photography Outing

It’s always good to get out and about, especially in the climate we are currently facing. Meeting a group of friends from Great Photography Walks NPT we re-visited the Clydach Canal in Swansea, this time heading north instead of south through this idyllic part of the country.

I thought I would use this outing to try out two film simulations that I have been working on, in the real world. There was a of green, oranges and browns today, so it’s difficult to judge the Leica-Like recipe, however I’m really happy with the J-Street recipe. I will use older raw files to look at the results of Leica-Like and judge how I feel about it, but from the images here, I really do like it.

Shot with the X-T20 and Viltrox 23mm F/1.4 and Viltrox 85mm F/1.8, these images were placed into Photoscape X Pro where they were simply straightened or cropped. We had various lighting conditions, and both lenses perform slightly differently, so here are the results of todays meet.

As well as countryside and the canal, I did take photographs of some of the people who were at the meet with us. Here are a few of these people, I’ve tried to choose photographs which show the colours.

There we have it, it was a great day today and many photos were taken. As a side note, I also used Performance mode on the camera all day, and managed for the first time ever to get through a battery! I actually didn’t really notice much, if any difference using this mode to the standard mode, so may just switch it back over.

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*** Note: The Leica-Like film simulation was shot on White Balance custom setting 1 in these shots and these are the jpegs. When run through Fuji X Raw Studio and using Auto WB, the green shaded images change colour slightly as they are not in sunny conditions. This has been a great eye-opener in creating film simulations using custom white balance. Usually I haven’t seen much of a difference, but conditions today forced them.

The Best Editing Software You’ll Ever Need Is…

There have been hundreds and thousands of articles written about the best software that any photographer should use. They’ll tell you why you should use this software, and how it makes you a better editor of photographs. What this article well set out to achieve once and for all, is the best piece of editing software for you and your needs.

What’s Out There?

Before we can begin to decide what the best editing software is for you, you need to understand that there are two distinct categories available that will be critical in your decision of what you will use.

Photoshop & the like…

Firstly, there are the Photoshop type editing programs. There offer powerful image manipulation, and although not as easy to use as dedicated photo editing software, many people will use them either as a solo photo editing program or as an additional step.

These programs include the already mentioned Photoshop, which is the Gold standard in photo manipulation, and the only things that put people off buying it are it’s steep learning curve and subscription model which ensures that Adobe will always have a grip on you and your images.

Secondly for the Photoshop type editing program you have Gimp, which is the leading free Photoshop replacement, and in many respects just as usable, although it is missing non-destructive editing for a lot of its components. You also have other programs such as Affinity Photo which people enjoy. Affinity is cheap, you only pay once and keep it, and it is great for everyday use, is a bit more complicated than other programs.

Lightroom & the like…

The second category is the Lightroom type editing program. These are more specifically for editing photographs, they have a light table feature which displays rows of photos which you can view, bulk edit etc and see side by side comparisons of many different images.

Lightroom is of course the offering from Adobe that has set the gold standard. It’s an all encompassing photo editor that is used by most professional photography editors. It’s drawback for many is that it’s a subscription service, but there are plenty of alternatives.

Darktable is the leading Lightroom alternative, and in many ways is much more powerful, but had a very steep learning curve. It offers everything and more that Lightroom does, but it’s completely free.

We also have Capture One which is great and a one off fee (although they do offer free versions for Fuji, Nikon and Sony users), plus ON1 Photo Raw which again is a one off payment and a very powerful program to boot! Currently Luminar 4 is the talk of every photographer, and it’s an amazing program.

Which is the very best to use – let’s settle this once and for all…

Above was an outline of various software, they all perform amazingly, they all offer various models of payment and in reality they will all get the job done.

The best thing of all is that they each offer free trials of their software!!! Unlike other reviewers or bloggers, I’m not going to say you should use this or that software, I’m going to suggest you download and software that has taken your eye and try the free trial!

The best software that money can buy is the software that suits your needs best, and for the most part it’s all about the user interface and learning curve. There is no right or wrong answer to this!

What software do I use?

As someone who holds classes, runs photography groups and is heavily involved in photography, I am lucky to have a lot of software which I need to know in order to help others. However, I do have my favourites. I really enjoy Darktable and Gimp for my main processing, although I also enjoy Luminar 4, Photoshop and a little program called Photoscape X Pro, which I use probably more than any others when just sorting through jpegs ready to put up on the internet.

Take advantage of these free trials and also help me out!

I am an affiliate for Luminar, and if you’d like a special deal on this software, plus have £10/$10/$10 of your software, use code GPWNPT and go through this link.

If you’d like to try ON1 for an exclusive trial, use this link.

— I do not make money from these links, but it gives me the opportunity to try the latest versions so that I may pass on my knowledge to the photography groups I run online and in person.