It’s Here!!!! The Photography Dash

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Improve Your Photography With The Photography Dash

Do you want to take photos you can proudly show everyone?

Do you want people to look at your images and go WOW, this is great?

Do you read everything you can about photography, but still can’t translate that into better photos.

Are you frustrated that when you are following tips or advise, it never turns out quite right?

Busselton Jetty

This is an image of the Busselton Jetty at night and it’s to remind me to share my blessings with the world


This is an image I took in my first dash!!!



Guess what, you can take images like this, because you can have a professional photographer alongside you in the dash, telling you what you did right and where you went wrong and telling you how you can get it right, then having the opportunity to retake the image and get the professional photographer to then let you know how you went!!!

Most people can’t afford this because it would be hugely expensive….but this is where the photo dash comes in. You can join the photo-dash for as little as $19-50!!! (if you choose both topics) and then during checkout you will be offered an upgrade to gold or premium.

These are the levels that you get personal critiquing by either 1 professional photographer (Gold level ) or 2 professional photographers (Platinum level) and you can have this for….drum roll….less than the cost of a cup of coffee a day!!!!

Check out all the details below. The dashes run for 1 month at a time and there are 6 months planned, so you can look at exactly what is on offer. You can just do one dash or you can do them all!!!

The Photography Dash

Oh did I forget to mention….I am one of the photographers who will be critiquing your images along with two other great photographers in America. My love is nature in all her forms, Dalisa’s is Portraiture and Becki is a Californian who has a strong background in photography including an associate in arts degree in commercial photography.

Although we all have areas that we specialize in we are all professional photographers who do all aspects of photography, but as a photographer you will find you will generally be drawn to a certain type of photography. Once you have learnt all the basics and have a full toolbox you can try all the different subjects and pick one that appeals to you.

Whether you just want to take better photos of the kids or you have a special once in a lifetime holiday coming up or you want to become a professional, then this dash is for you.

Oh and it doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced. we tailor it to your needs and it also doesn’t matter what type of camera you have, you can even learn on a phone camera!!!

So have a look by clicking on the link below and if you have any questions just ask me and I will be happy to answer them.

The Photography Dash


adifferent view

The underside of Busselton Jetty


Rules of Composition – Part two

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In this post we will cover more of the rules of composition. Many people think the ratio’s including Rule of Thirds are the end of the composition guidelines, but they are only one aspect. These are some of the others: Rule of Odds, leaving space, colour,texture, patterns (including symmetry), viewpoint, depth of field, orientation, Framing, leading lines, balance, simplify, background, focal depth, angles and take time. I will cover some in this post and the rest in Part three.

First, I want to talk about composition in general. The first two things you should ask when you look at a scene, the first is, what is the interesting element, what will people want to look at or what do I want to show people. Second should be what is the story I want to tell about this. This will then lead your composition. You will know you want to put the interesting elements at the intersecting points of the ratio rules and is there a leading line I can use to draw people into the image. What angle conveys the feeling I am getting. We see in 3D, photos are only 2D, so often we need to exaggerate something to make it feel the same in an image to what we experienced. Choosing a different angle often does this, as do all the rules of composition, so lets have a look at them.

Leading lines are designed to lead your eye into an image. We have learnt in the previous post that the intersection points are where our eyes tend to go first, so we want to create a leading line to draw people into the image and toward the point we want them to focus on .This also often gives the image a feeling of depth. We should stay away from lines that are completely horizontal, except the horizon of course, if a leading line is horizontal, it tends to form a wall or barrier, so we want a line that leads us to the focal point of the image.

leading line with golden ratio

leading line angling in from corner






If the leading line is on an angle, I try to start that angle at the corner of the image as this makes it a stronger leading line.

leading line and rule of thirds

another example of a leading line






This leading line is heading into image along the grid line of the rule of thirds and the dingy is near the intersection of the third lines balancing the image. We want the whole image to be interesting and to get people to give than glance at the image and then move on, so we use the rules of composition to help create an image that stands out and that captures the attention of the viewer.

Orientation is the next we will look at. Does this image lend itself to landscape or portrait orientation. Mainly landscapes are shot in horizontal, but sometimes it pays to experiment with vertical as well and the same goes for portraiture, which is normally shot vertically, try some horizontal ones as well.

Canarvon Jetty

…begins with one step.
Carnarvon Jetty









This is a landscape type image that is taken in a portrait or vertical orientation.


A couple enjoying the sunshine and the seclution of the pools at the top of Joffre Falls








This is an image of people taken in a landscape or horizontal orientation.

Have you ever heard of the Rule of Odds? This is where it is recognized that an odd number of things in a line or row or group is beter than an even number. With an even number our eye automatically goes to the middle of them which is a blank area, but with three it settles on the middle one.

rule of odds

two finches, see how your eye goes to the gap in the centre

three finches

rule of odds













This doesn’t mean you can’t have two people or two animals in a picture, just be aware of this and make sure their is no gap between them or they are interacting.

Jude and Neve

We are drawn to what is in the middle






Our eyes are drawn to what they are looking at between them. so in this case it helps to make the image and direct our eyes.

Another one along these lines is the rule of Leaving Space, this is where you leave room for our eyes to travel around the scene, to look where a model is looking, or to leave room for the boat to travel into or a bird to fly into. This rule states that if the subject is not looking directly to the camera, or looks out of the frame, there should be enough space for the subject to look into and our eyes to wander into. This technique creates intrigue in the minds of the viewers.

This image shows that there is room for the bike to travel into.

Leaving space 1

Motorbike stunt riding






leaving space 2

Low key

This is another example






Next one is ViewPoint. This is whether you take the image from normal height, bend down and get down low, climb a ladder and get up high. This also includes Angles, which is looking for unusual angles to take the image from. All of these help to add interest to the photo and create an image that looks different.

An example of this is with children, If we stand and take the photo we are actually looking down on the child, this makes the child look smaller, getting down to their level gives you a unique perspective. If you lie on the floor and look up to the child you will get a different perspective again.

If you want to make something look bigger or accentuate it’s size, then get down low. if you want to make something smaller and less significant then look down on it as you take the image.

Often if something is very large or very small it is good to include something that is universal to give a perspective on the object.

In this image I have used my finger just to give an indication of the size.

primrose orchid

This shows the size of a primrose orchid









In this one I have taken the praying mantis down at his level, but you can see the branch he is sitting on, so you realize though he looks large in the image, he is actually quite small.

praying mantis 1









In this image I have shot from down below the rocks, giving you a feel of how large the boulders are.

Rock formations

Unusual formations







This is a picture of my puppy, yes she is tiny, the work boots give you a reference point to know her size and I have got down on the grand to take her straight on

tuesday 3

Pappillion puppy






In this image I have enhanced the flower by shooting from below so the flower fills the frame and is highlighted against the light.

red tulip

Canberra Floriade








The next rule I would like to tell you about is Depth, this also includes Depth of Field.

Depth is the feeling of depth, this is another thing that helps make the image look more 3D as we are able to see into the image.  An image that you want to have real depth, for example a landscape image you need to look at the foreground, the middle ground, and background. The photos that really grab your attention will be ones that have some foreground interest as well as the main part of the image and then something interesting in the background, often the background is the sky in landscape.

log at sunset

foreground interest






This image has the branch as the foreground element, the ocean is the mid-ground and the sunset and clouds the background. If we only had two of these elements it would be a nice image, but having all three makes it a much more powerful image.

Depth of Field is used here to make sure that the whole image is in focus so that you can see all the scene. For this I used a large depth of field, which means a small aperture, which is a higher f stop. This was taken at f11.

Depth of field is the area of an image that is in focus.

Aperture is the amount of light that enters the camera. It is similar to the pupil on a human eye. In darker situations our pupil opens up to allow more light in and in really bright light our pupil closes down to let less light in. The f-stop is an inverse of this, so a small aperture is a large f-stop(f11-22) and a large aperture is a small f-stop(f1.5-5.6).

People get very confused with this. I like to remember it like this.

A large aperture = a small depth of field = a small f-stop

A small aperture = a large depth of field = a large f-stop

We can use depth of field to draw the viewers attention to where we want it. For example if it is a busy scene and we want our subject to stand out, then we use a small depth of field, so only the main object is in clear focus and the rest is blurred, we know it’s there, but we don’t pay much attention to it.

This is an image with a narrow depth of field, see how the background is blurred accentuating the flower.

karri spider orchid

shallow DOF

Aspect Ratio – Photography Rules of Composition

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I have recently been asked to explain the different rules of composition, so I thought I would do it here so it is available for everyone.

When we talk about rules of composition in photography we most naturally think of the rule of thirds, but there is actually a few others too, the golden ration,the spiral, diagonals and the triangle.

To explain these I will show you images with these rules applied, but before that I need to explain, the lines themselves are where the eye will normally travel too, the intersection of the lines is the “sweet” spot and is where your main object should be and where your 100% focus should be. Remembering that these are really guidelines, not rules, so if the image doesn’t fall into the sweet spot then still aim for the main object to be on one of the lines.

An example of this is with the rule of thirds, look at the landscape below, the horizon is on the lower line of the rule of thirds and then the point of interest, the houses on the jetty are at the intersecting point. The horizon where it is, helps to balance the image and the “sweet” spot draws our eyes to the buildings and then our eyes naturally follow the leading line of the jetty itself to all the other points of interest. Composition is about more than just ratios so have a look at my other posts on the other rules of composition.

The most well known rule, the rule of thirds, this is like a game of nought and crosses with the image divided into thirds both vertically and horizontally and you try to put your horizon on either the bottom third line or the top third line, this creates a much more appealing composition than the horizon in the dead centre. Now a word of caution here, these are more like guidelines than rules are so can be broken:) For example, with reflections it is often better to have the horizon in the middle, so these are guides, not hard and fast rules.

These rules or guidelines, came about by evidence that the human eye is naturally drawn to the intersection of the lines when the image is divided into thirds, the same applies for the other ratios. Also if the horizon is placed on either the bottom or the top line then the image is much more balanced.


rule of thirds ratio

This is a traditional example of rule of thirds






The next rule which is similar to the rule of thirds is the Golden Ratio. In this one the lines are slightly closer together than in the rule of thirds. These sections that are roughly 1:1.618. (See image below)

composition ratio

The image is divided equally in 3






The next composition rule is the triangle rule. This is often used in portraiture photography. The objects of interest are on mainly one side of the image, with the point of the triangle being the main focal point. Here you can see the pen tip is on the tip of the triangle and the book is angled along the diagonal of the triangle and finally the hands follow the other line of the triangle.

triangle composition

This is a photograpic example of the triangle ratio






Then we have the spiral rule of composition. This is one that is not used a lot, but when it is it is very effective.

Spiral ratio

This is the spiral composition rule






You will notice the curve of the petals starts the spiral and the tightest part of the spiral draws your eye to the in focus area in the centre of the flower.

The final main rule is the rule of diagonals.

ratio composition

This is an example of the diagonals rule of composition






You will notice that the girls body follows the diagonal and the eyes are at the junction points leading your eyes here. This is usually used when there is no horizon in the image and you are using leading lines that are on the diagonal. The main focus areas are along the lines and at the intersecting points, not in the middle, However if you look at the image above you will see that by putting her eyes on the intersecting points the rest of her face falls into the middle, thus the confusion.

Here is an overlay of 4 of the rules. From this you will notice that the sweet spots (the red dots) are quite close to each other, making for an overall sweet area. The red dot at the top that doesn’t appear to correlate with an intersecting line is where the spot would be if the spiral was inverted.

overlay of some of the composition rule

The red dots show the sweet spots of an image






To choose which rule to use, look at your subject, does it have a horizon, can the image be divided up into three sections, does it fit with rule of thirds or golden ratio, then use one of these rules. Is it a close up of an object or a portraiture shot. Portraiture shots usually use the rule of thirds, golden ratio or triangle rules. To use the spiral rule your image needs to have lines or objects that follow a spiral pattern.


The composition ratios are not just as to where the objects fall, the intersecting points are where the focus should be. That is why I have put the girls eyes at the intersecting point as her eyes are the point that needs to be 100% in focus.

Photo composition is one of the important ingredients in making  a great photograph. How you arrange the objects in a scene, where you want the eyes to focus on, what emotion you want the image to convey all contribute  to the overall success of the image.

Will it tell the story as you see it?  Will it have impact? Will that impact be positive or negative? What emotion does it show? Is it just a picture documentation of what is there or is it a creative art image? All these things are brought about by the way you use the rules of composition.

There are many other areas of composition we also need to remember, but I will cover those in another post.

If you have any questions please comment below and feel free to share it with your fellow photographers.

How to Make your own Grey Card

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What is a grey card?

It is a card photographers use to set the white balance for their shots.

What does this mean?

Different light gives you different colour casts on your images, sometimes we want this as we are trying to be creative, but often it takes from the image instead of adding to it.

How often have you thought you have captured a great image only to bring it up on the screen and go, “it wasn’t like this at all?” Most of us have and this is mainly because of a wrongly set white balance.

Can you never get skin colours that look like skin colours? This is also usually a white balance problem.

Ok, so how do we fix it?

We set the white balance to custom and get a person to hold a grey card up in front of their face and then set your white balance. You can also take a shot including the grey card that you can use in post processing to set the white balance if you are shooting in RAW.
If you don’t have a grey card you can also use a white piece of paper or if there is a road nearby and you live in Australia then you can shoot the road as your grey reference point. However it is much more accurate to use a grey card.

We can buy these at most photographic shops or online, but you can also make your own to get you out of a spot.
To make a grey card
An easy way to do this is open up Photoshop (or any image editor that can handle layers) and make a new document that’s sized at 8.5″ x 11″ and has a white background.
Make a new layer and fill it with black.
Reduce the opacity of that layer to 50%.
Then Print.
If your printer has a colour profile, you may want to switch to that off before printing for more accurate results.
Even if your grey card is uneven and not wonderful in general, it will still give you better and more accurate colour than the camera’s automatic white balance.

A proper grey card is definitely better, but when you need something quick you can get by with even this fairly inaccurate method.

50% Grey card

This is what a grey card









Another way that I often use is to create the image above and then add it to my iphone. I then set this as my background and when I need a grey card I just open up my phone and I have one, or if your lock screen is automatically grey like mine you can use that, unfortunately that doesn’t help when I am using my iphone to take the shot.

Happy New Year!!!

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I wanted to take this opportunity to wish each of you a happy new year. I hope it is filled with joy and laughter, health and happiness.

It is at this time of year that we take a moment to reflect and many of you will have made New years resolutions.

Have you already broken them???

How come even with the best intentions, we struggle to make change?

One reason is that in reality, January the 1st is just one day away from Dec 31st. If our habits haven’t changed, which is very difficult to do in a single day, then we struggle to stay focused and motivated.

I recently read an article which made me stop and go, “YES!, of course!!”

What that article was talking about was setting a daily practice rather than an end goal. You have an end goal, but you break it down into a process. So instead of saying, “this year I am going to create a photographic book and make it available for sale”. I Would say from today I am going to create one page of a photo book each week. Then in a year I will have a 52 page book ready for printing.

It is like when asked, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer of course is, “one bite at a time”

The advantage of this method is that when you have created your book, you don’t then fall into the slump of what will I do know, you will have developed a routine, a habit that you can keep using.

Have you ever wanted to write a book?

Decide that you will write an article once a week, at the end of the year you will have more than enough written to create a book.

For me, my goal in 2014 is to write a blog post once a week, so if I haven’t done it by Friday, then each Friday I have scheduled time in my diary to do it.

This way we create lifelong habits that begin to change who we are and what we do.

What will be your process for this year. I would love you to share, what your goal is and the “Process” by which you will achieve it.

My Goal

To write a blog post once a week





Here is an image to help you focus,  right click on it and save photo, then you can add some text to it if you like reminding you of your process and set is as your screensaver or wallpaper. The above is mine with my motto, the one below is for you.

I cropped mine a bit to fit my screen:)

Remember to share what your process is.

Busselton Jetty

This is an image of the Busselton Jetty at night and it’s to remind me to share my blessings with the world