Learn Photoshop and Lightroom

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Click here to visit Serge Ramelli www.photoserge.com.

Serge Ramelli has great free tutorials, he sends out 2 a week if you sign up for his newsletter and you also get the RAW files.

On top of this he also has some great tutorials that you can purchase and he often has great discounts.

At the moment you can get 40% OFF

Red at night shepherds delight

This was taken 20 mins after sunset as the red filled the sky.

Click here to visit Serge Ramelli www.photoserge.com.





This is one of the images I processed using the tutorials and workflow that he has taught me.

I hope you will find this as good a resource as I have.

Shooting sunsets and sunrises

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Red at night shepherds delight

This was taken 20 mins after sunset as the red filled the sky.







What makes a stunning sunset?

I didn’t realise until one day someone gave me a magnet that said, “May you have enough clouds in your life to make a beautiful sunset.”

Sunset Busselton

The Goose Restaurant in Busselton WA with a fiery sunset behind it.








Yes clouds of the right sort can make or break a sunset. You are generally looking for light wispy clouds that cover a reasonable area.

Does this mean you can’t shoot a sunset, without clouds? No, definetly not, you can still have some great sunsets without clouds but the other elements in the photo play a larger role.


reflections at sunset







There are a few important things you need to remember when shooting sunrises or sunsets.

Firstly make sure you have your camera, tripod, shutter release, spare batteries and spare cards. (If you don’t have a shutter release you can use the timer function on your camera)

Get The Photographers Ephemeris App, I know they have one for iphone probably for android too. It tells you when sunset, sunrise, moon rise and moon set are as well as exactly where they will rise and set for any location you are in.

This helps when looking at the best place to set up, but also means you can go earlier in the day and scout out the location that you think will work best.

Always get to the location al least 30 mins before sunset, so you can set up and get your settings spot on. It is best to use aperture priority, then you can set your aperture and then you only need to adjust the shutter speed as the light gets less and less.

A note here, what if you see an amazing sunset and only have your point and shoot camera or phone? For point and shoot, put it on sunset mode, take a few shots and sit back and enjoy the show. For phones, take a few snapshots, but use it as a moment you can just sit and drink in.

Also look at the sky behind you, often before sunset the opposite part of the sky will go a dusty pink.

sunset Busselton 17_edited-1

The opposite side to the sunset at Dunsborough







When checking out the location, see if there will be a chance of getting reflections. This can be off water, off mirrors, wet concrete or windows.

If there is not likely to be reflections look for shapes that will look good as silhouettes.

Look for leading lines, get down low, go up high, try for unusual angles.

Composition is just as important as for any image, don’t rely on the color to carry the whole image.

If there are reflections, put the horizon in the centre, if there aren’t use either the rule of thirds or the golden ratio.

Get set up where you think is best, then look behind you to see what the sky is doing there, turn your camera and take some shots always watching over your shoulder for the actual sunset.

Once the sky begins to brighten, take some test shots, sometimes you may need to bracket your exposures and underexpose your images rather than over expose them.

The light is getting low and you still need a fairly large depth of field f9 up, so this is where the tripod comes in as you will need long shutter speeds. I always try to keep my ISO to 100.

What happens if you get there and the cloud is really heavy and it doesn’t look like any light is going to get through?

As the sun starts to move behind the clouds it creates some great sun ray shots, so zoom in and capture these. Some of my best sunsets have been where people have said, what a waste of time. I zoom in so even the tiny bit of sunset fills my whole screen. This is a great trick if you live in an area where they are not as spectacular as where I live.

Once the sun has set, most people pack up and go home, DON’T!

After sunset

the sky turned to red after the sun had set







It is in the 30 minutes after sunset that the sky will go red if it is going to. I have waited after the sun set and nothing, 10 mins, nothing, 20 min nothing 25 mins and the sky explodes in colour.

This time of night down at the beach is always a beautiful time of solitude, so use the time to just refresh your mind and replenish your spirit.

Remember even at this time to look all around you so you don’t miss what is happening.

Sunrises are the same so have a go at either and let me know how it goes.

Registrations are open for the April Dash. Click here:. The Photography Dash

This Dash is Landscapes, sunset and sunrises. Get I quick so you dont miss out.


reflections at sunset

Landscape Checklist

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Take your telephoto lenses as well as wide angle ones.

Take a plastic bag or purpose made sleeve, to put camera and gear in if it rains.

Hat, insect repellent, sunscreen, water, raincoat, jacket or long sleeved top and light full pants. (often at sunset and sunrise mosquitoes are bad).

Camera, cards, batteries, money and phone.

Clean your camera lens and take a microfibre cloth


Think Safety First – often we get carried away trying to get that unique angle, always think SAFETY first.

Check the weather forecast before you leave and tell someone where you are going.

Golden hour and blue hour are the best times to go out, so go early in the morning or later in the afternoon to ensure the best light.

Rain at Uluru

Rain falling from the rock







When you arrive on scene:

Check your camera settings, is the ISO on 100, are you in the right setting, if you are shooting in RAW is it turned on.

Check out where the light is coming from, where are the shadows falling, how much difference is there between the light and dark areas of the image.

Often it works best if the light is off to the side.

Walk around looking for what you want to be the main object that your image is about.

Think about what story you want to tell about it.

Look for different or unusual angles.

Look for foreground interest.

Take a few test shots and look at them in the camera, are their any distractions, are is the image looking the way you want.

Can you create a leading line?

Can you place the main object on one of the third lines or sweet spots of the composition rules.

Are there complementary colours, patterns of textures to add interest and depth.

Use a fairly large depth of field, f12 to f32 or whatever your camera goes up to.

Check if you have IS (image stability) on your camera or lens. If it does not have a tripod mode then turn it off.

Look at an image Vertically as well as horizontally.

Take a wide angle image and then see how many other photos you can find within the image.


As photographers we start with a canvas that is jam packed, we have to take objects out to create the image we want. We do this by changing the angle to exclude things, moving things (rubbish), or using a shallower depth of field.

Have fun and enjoy nature.

As you take your camera off the tripod, turn the IS back on:)


April Dash

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Registrations are open for the April Dash. Click here:. The Photography Dash


reflections at sunset

This one is on Landscapes and Sunsets, so to all you who have said I wish I could take photos like yours, now is the time.  After you sign up you will have the option to have gold or premium upgrades which mean you get professional photographers to critique your images, and yes I am one on the coaches, so you can even request me if you want!!!!

The Photography Dash

a palm frond frame


Get in quick as there are only limited places in Gold and Platinum.

Portrait Cue Card

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Portrait Checklist

Portrait photography that tells a story

Natures window







– Set camera to burst mode

– Tripod

– Spare camera

– Batteries fully charged.

– Memory card and spares (formatted)

– Flashes and reflectors

-Clean your camera lens and take a microfibre cloth

On arrival walk around, look at the light, find somewhere that has good lighting preferably coming from the side but slightly in front. If shady find solid shade.

Check off camera flash is on.

Chat to people, get them to relax and learn a bit about them.

Check for shadows especially on faces.

Be creative.

If your IS lens or camera doesn’t have a tripod mode or isn’t enhanced for tripod awareness then turn Image Stabilization OFF.

Set the white balance to custom and get person to hold grey card then set WB in post or better still shoot in RAW.

Use Golden Hour as much as possible, use shady or cloudy white balance.

Try to take an image that tells a story about the person.


Cheat sheet – general photography

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Not really cheating, more like memory jogging:)


Horizontal Falls, Western Australia

I find that there are so many things to remember when you are learning photography that you remember some and get them perfect only to realize you had missed something else, so what can we do?

I have lists in my phones note section that are like cue cards to help me remember. When I first started photography, way before mobile phone days, I would read my cue cards to put everything fresh in my mind before I went out on a photography shoot.

Now I shoot all the time, I don’t need them so much, but as I specialize in nature and landscape, I still have notes on portraiture, children, sports, etc, so if I am doing one of these, I always read my cheat sheets to make sure everything is fresh in my mind.

So let me share some basic cheat sheets:

General -applies all the time

Before leaving home checklist


– check batteries and charged and have a spare (CH), Clean your camera lens and take a microfibre cloth

– check memory card and make sure I have a spare formatted one. (M)

– Phone and some money (you never know when you might need them, especially change   for parking meters) (P,M)


-Tripod, flash,filters, remote shutter release, any other accessories (A)

Main checklist for taking photos

– Check your settings especially ISO and IS (image stabilization)

– Walk around the object or area looking at different angles, don’t forget high and low.

– Where is the sun? Which way are the shadows falling?

– Can I see my shadow in the shot?

– Frame your image and look around viewfinder or screen for anything that takes away, distracts from subject? (trees growing out of heads, rubbish in the shot, eye snags at edge of frame  etc)

– Move closer.

– Check your horizon is straight.

-Which composition rule are you using, rule of thirds, golden ratio, spiral, rule of odds? (To  learn more on these go to http://www.juliaharwood.com/aspect-ratio-photography-rules- of-composition/)

– Are there any interesting colours, patterns, textures?

– Can I create a leading line?

– Is there something I can use for foreground interest, if not should I move closer?

– Try a different angle, lay down on the ground or find something to stand on.

– What is the main character or object I am photographing?

– What is the story I want to tell about that person or object?

– Is there anything in the shot that distracts from the story I’m trying to tell?

– Take a shot, check the screen, does it look how I imagined?

– Do I need to change the settings?

– Would it be better with a larger depth of field or a smaller one? Change the f stop.  F2=narrow depth of field, f11=large depth of field

– do I want to freeze the action or create silky water? Am I using the right shutter speed?

– Is the shot a bit blurry? Do I need a tripod or can I use a higher shutter speed or ISO?

– Take another photo and re check, when happy fire away, take lots from different angles,  take some from further away and some from close up. This gives you options for post  processing.

Surfs up

Jackes Point Kalbari Western Australia

That’s it for general, in the next post I will add cheat sheets for specific areas such as portrait, night photography, animals,children etc.