Will I ever get there?

Notice: Undefined index: category_below_content in /home/julia329/public_html/wp-content/plugins/shareaholic/public.php on line 393
Truck in the dust at sunset

learn how to take great sunset shots

This is a question I get asked a lot as a photo coach and critiquer. Often people compare their photos with others they see online and they wonder what the point is, there are so many great images out there and I will never be as good as them so what’s the point?

We need to think about why we take photos.

First and foremost they are memories or snapshots of our lives and our experiences to share with others.

As such our photos reflect our experiences and our memories so they are going to be unique to us even if there are photos of the same thing out there that “appear” better.

People are seeing so many great images that they all begin to look the same, it is the personal touch of you sharing your experiences that makes them great and relevant to your life and your friends.

The next reason for photography is to relax and enjoy yourself, if you are an outdoors person it is a chance to get outdoors and emerge ourselves in nature, for those who are into portraits, it is a change to meet and connect with people.

Regardless of how the photographs turn out, the act of taking the photo is where the joy of photography is. It allows us to forget everything else and just take time to be totally in the moment. This has a great healing component for the body and the soul.

“But I love photography and want to be good enough to make some money from it,” I hear you say.

This is where the asthetics and techniques of photography comes in and the only way to be a really good photographer is to practice

One of the great photographers once said you will not succeed until you have taken 10,000 photos. Why? Because first we have to learn our craft, then we need to study the masters and then we need to develop our own style.

For some people finding their style comes naturally for others it takes time and elvolves as we progress. The same applies to the techniques of photography, some people have a natural flair and some have to work harder, but at the end of the day it is the one who is still out there taking images after 10,000 photos that will be the one making money.

Selling your work contains a few processes. First and foremost we need a market, who would be interested in purchasing your work and why? Then we need to successfully shoot and process the images and then we need to know how to market that product.

When I look back on my early work that I sold in an online stock agency I cringe at all the things I can see wrong in the images, but I made money. How? I marketed my images so people knew where to look. In amongst the cringe worthy were some great images:)

I know know that when it comes to sharing your work you are only as good as your worst image, so if you are looking at setting up a proffessional portfolio you need to look carefully at your images, but you also need to believe in yourself and back yourself.

I would encourage you to never give up, firstly because you are making irriplaceable memories that no one else can create and secondly for the great healing capacity photography has.

Finally we need to know it’s okay to make mistakes, we all do it, like getting that totally blurred image or that horizon that is tilted and many, many more. most proffessional photographers will never show you their photos straight out of the camera, it would show up all the mistakes, it is like seeing a half finished painting, it has potential but needs finishing.

I have a freind I go out shooting native orchids with, these are tiny delecate wild flowers that move in the slightest breeze and are illegal to pick. She says, “how come you always get nice photos and mine a blurred.” I laugh and tell her I take more images. Where she will take five images of a flower I will take 10, then I will look at them on the LCD a screen and if I don’t think I’m quite there I will take 10 more and so the odds of me getting that perfectly focused image are greatly enhanced. (By the way she also has great images, but like all of us she sees the bad ones more clearly than the good ones.)


Hybrid terrestial orchid. These are about an inch or 3cm across. Tiny gems of nature.









I have been doing photography for over 20 years and I am still learning everyday, so I would encourage you, don’t give up, get out and take photos for the joy of it and to create the memories to share with others and with time and practice you will look back and see how much you have improved.

For those of you who would like to learn more of the techniques and understand how to take a better photo I would highly recommend Digital-photo-secrets Dash course. It is very affordable and has options for beginners all the way to advanced.

Here is the link if you want to learn more.  http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/aff/Jkh/20854b63.html

For those of you doing the Dash I would encourage you to compare apples with apples, by that I mean if you are a beginner don’t compare your photos with someone who is advanced.

Remeber photography is all about getting out there and having FUN!!!

Happy shooting.


Learn how to Photograph Flowers and/or Night Photography

Notice: Undefined index: category_below_content in /home/julia329/public_html/wp-content/plugins/shareaholic/public.php on line 393

Macro either excites people or terrifies them.

Flowers are a favourite starting point for many people wanting to get into macro photography, for two reasons. One is that they are readily available and two there are lots that aren’t really small.

Pink everlastings 2

A blue/purple wildflower in the bush







For others it is their love of gardening that draws them to photography and eventually macro as they want to record the changes that happen in their garden.

Flowers are favourites for photographers as well. They have a great range of colour and form and they tap into our memories, so they help us to express an emotion or tell a story.

The June Photography Dash is on Flowers and/or night photography, so it is a great way to start your journey into macro photography or unleash your creativity in light painting.

sturt desurt pea 2

Close up of sturt pea

sturt pea top view















Learn how framing, angles and depth of field all influence how the image will look. Learn what lighting to use, learn when the best time to take flower photography is.

spider orchid Mt lesueur

An exotic spider orchid









You can learn how to take wonderful photos that show your flowers off in their best light.

The other stream of the Dash for June is Night Photography, so join one or both Dashes and take your photography to the next level.

After you have signed up to the Dash you will get an email asking you if you want to upgrade to Gold.

You don’t have to, to learn, but this is an amazing opportunity.

For less than a cup of coffee a day you can have a professional photographer as your coach. They will look at your images, tell you what you have done right and what you can improve, but better than that they will tell you HOW to get it right.

This is an interactive course where you can learn in a unique environment. Take this opportunity today, it is one that most people would not be able to afford if they had to hire a professional photographer direct, but that has been made affordable through being part of the Dash.

Dashers also form a great community of like minded people. Many participants have gone on to form lasting friendships, both with other participants and with the professional coaches. Are you serious about your photography? Click on the link now.

Not into flowers, but want to get creative with Night Photography? We have you covered too.

The two Dashes run simultaneously, You can do one or both.

In the Night photography stream you will learn what gear to use, what settings work best, how to have fun with light painting and much more.

orb try 1 earth, moon & sun align











You too can take amazing photos, don’t hesitate, take the plunge now.

There is another lunar eclipse happening soon, prepare now so you will know how to when the moment arrives.

It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or a semi-pro this course will help you take your images to the next level. Be part of The Photography Dash now!

How you can create great Silhouettes

Notice: Undefined index: category_below_content in /home/julia329/public_html/wp-content/plugins/shareaholic/public.php on line 393

Do you get scared by the thought of taking silhouettes as you are creating a total black image against a colourful, light filled background?







Once you know how it is one of the easiest techniques around.

There are a few basics you need to know.
Firstly you need to be shooting into the sun, not actually including the sun, but so the sun is behind your subject.
If the sun is in your shot, use the foreground object to block it otherwise you will end up with an overexposed background.

The second is that you need to spot meter for the background.
Which means you go to your cameras menu and pick spot meter, a lot of cameras have a dial you turn to put it on spot metering.
Then you need to point the camera at the sky. Make a note of the settings the camera has picked. Now you can do one of two things.
If your camera has an exposure lock, then hold this down and recompose your shot and then press the shutter.
Then whatever object you have in the foreground will be in silhouette.

If your camera doesn’t have an exposure lock, you have made a note of the settings the camera chose, so move the dial to M for manual and dial those settings in.
Then compose your shot, press the shutter and you should have a silhouette.

That’s it…. Well there are a couple of other things to keep in mind to make a really good silhouette.

Subjects with a clear well recognizable profile work best as we easily identify what it is, making sure they are positioned so their most noticeable features are in profile.
For people this is usually side on.
The other is positioning.
Place them so that there whole profile is against a bright part of the background otherwise they get lost.
You may need to bend your knees and get low to shoot them against the sky.

See how one we lose them against the background.

silhoette bad example







Now have a look at the one up the top, much better.

How to Create Images That Stand Out

Notice: Undefined index: category_below_content in /home/julia329/public_html/wp-content/plugins/shareaholic/public.php on line 393

In such an over saturated market like photography, how can I get my photos noticed.

Digital cameras and smart phones with cameras are everywhere and  it seems that every moment in life is captured and shared, so how can we create images that stand out from the crowd?

There seem to be so many great photographers out there.

With the advent of social media every person who ever picks up a camera has a captive market. People see so many amazing photos that they go, “wow look at that, I wonder where that is I want to go there,”

a palm frond frame








Very few few people say “Wow, who took that amazing photo?”

So how do we get them from looking at a photo, to asking who created it and wanting to see more of this persons work?”

There are many ways to do this. Good training and good work ethics still apply, but this isn’t enough.

Whenever you pick up your camera to create art as opposed to just taking the snapshots of life, you need to ask yourself a few questions.

What is it that makes me want to capture this scene, object, person etc?

What is the story I want to tell with this image? What story is going to capture people’s imagination?

Think about what types of books sell best? What emotions compel us to want to own something for ourselves?

Start with these as ideas to create images.

Who or what is the central character?

What is the mood I want to capture?

Now look through the viewfinder. What elements that I see add to the story? What elements take away from the story?

I once read an article that said something to the effect that, when we paint or draw, we start with a blank canvas and add to it, when we take a photograph we take an overcrowded canvas and remove from it.

We need to simplify, to create a story that doesn’t answer all the questions, a story that leaves room for the viewers imagination, a scene that will draw the viewer in and hold their attention.

Old Shearing shed

Days gone by







I will add further articles that will help you do this step by step. For now though, when you go out to take a photo, slow down and take time to decide what you really want to share before you even pick up the camera.

Rules of Composition – Part two

Notice: Undefined index: category_below_content in /home/julia329/public_html/wp-content/plugins/shareaholic/public.php on line 393

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 http://www.juliaharwood.com/aspect-ratio-photography-rules-of-composition/ 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

Photo Critique

Notice: Undefined index: category_below_content in /home/julia329/public_html/wp-content/plugins/shareaholic/public.php on line 393

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while. I have a new job as a photo critiquer. I am loving it, but it took a while to hit my stride. I am critiquing for the “dash” run by David Petterson of Digital Photography school (DPS).

What’s a dash I hear you ask? Well for all you photographers out there it is an awesome way to hone your skills or if your just starting out to learn the right way from the beginning.

I will add a link here to dps where you can sign up for their newsletter so that you will be notified when a new “dash” begins:) here it is http://digital-photography-school.com/

These are some of my pictures from the first Dash that I took part in.


The cool clear waters of Geographe Bay

Japanese Garden in Busselton

Busselton WA

adifferent view

The underside of Busselton Jetty


Wooden piers Busselton

Painted effect of underside of Busselton Jetty

Busselton Sunset

Busselton was voted the best place in Australia for sunsets. This is why

Spa therapy

An Egyptian princess rests

two focal points

Janpanese Gardesn Busselton Western Australia


tell a story with an image