There are roughly 7.5 billion people in the world and about 5 billion of them have a mobile phone. Roughly 4 billion people 80% of phones have a built-in camera. Estimates state that 14 trillion photos are taken annually (14,600,000,000,000) but why do some photographs really make an impression on us?
There are many distinguishing factors that make photographs stand out from those you see or take every day, but despite the marketing of phone and camera manufacture’s, a good camera does not make a good photographer, or produce a good image.
Whether you are a professional or amateur photographer, good photography equipment is costly. As a professional photographer, cameras and lenses are just the basics, there is also lighting equipment, tripods, backdrops, computer software, website costs and most importantly Public Liability Insurance and all of these costs require an income.
Professional photographers continually attend workshops and classes to master their abilities and learn new techniques and these have a cost and are often not cheap to attend and require dedicated time to attend.
Let’s return to that question “have you ever wondered why some photographs really make an impression on us”?
Personally, I think it relates to a combination these key factors
When you commission a photographer, you are investing in the value of these factors which all play a part in producing images that have an impression on the viewer.
We all have different tastes, but in summary photography is like wine, some excellent, some good and some not so good. There is an abundance of cheap wine that can be purchased, but do you value it for its quality or price? By commissioning a photographer, you are more likely to receive either excellent or good photographs, you are investing in them as photographers to create images that have value.
Sadly, there are some people who will screen grab photographers work, or complain about the price of an image and overlook the time involved in the process of creating the photograph. The cost of doing business as a photographer is like any other business, they need to generate a profit to survive, so if you value the images you see, show some appreciation for their time, effort and skill and invest in their work.
The human face is unique yet universal and ancient or modern, the human face has been expressive for over 4 million years.
The amazing variety of human faces is far greater than that of most other animals and is the result of evolutionary pressure to make each of us unique and easily recognizable.
Our human face happens to be one of the most powerful channels that we all use to communicate social and emotional states: everything from enjoyment, surprise, empathy, anger and curiosity.
Before I became interested in photography I was aware of the social and emotional communication faces display, but I generally took people’s faces for granted, Photography has made me more aware of people’s faces and one of the things I have discovered is that the look on someone’s face when they’re doing what they love is contagious and inspiring.
The images below are of some of the people Fran & I came in to contact with whilst traveling through Northern Vietnam, these included the Black H’mong, Zay minorities, Flower Hmong, Black Dzao, Nung, Phu la and Tay, Many of these people speak other language dialects, so even if we did speak Vietnamese communication would have been difficult, but I think smiles are universal regardless of language barriers.
There’s a very unique place in Hanoi that attracts tourists but its opening times are governed by train times and if you are visiting Hanoi, it really is worth a look.
Hanoi railway winds through the city like many cities and towns, but when it reaches Train Street, the tracks and train pass within a few feet of open front doors to buildings and people’s homes.
Recently cafes have sprung up to cater for the thirsty selfie takers and the hungry traveller. People live and work on these tracks, some now make a living selling their goods between train times, and when the train horn is heard, tables, chairs pets and children move out of the trains path before it thunders past.
What was once a street where it was cheap to live and mainly known by locals, has now become popular tourist hot spot to experience something that is unique and only found in Hanoi.
There are two sections of Train Street in Hanoi where you can watch the trains pass and have a surreal experience.
Lê Duẩn – this section is further out of town with just one cafe to view the passing train from. It’s between Lê Duẩn and Khâm Thin street. You can locate it in Google Maps as Ngo 224 Le Duan.
The Old Quarter section – this part of Train Street has cafes, a homestay and shops along the tracks. Enter Hanoi Street Traininto Google Maps and you’ll find two sections to explore either side of Tran Phu main road.
What are the times that the trains run along the tracks?
Through the Lê Duẩn section:
It will be dark during the second passing so try for 3.30pm.
After returning to the UK from Vietnam, I read that recently access to Train Street has been restricted to tourists, not sure if this is enforced 24 hours a day, but I doubt officials would be around that area at 6am in the morning?
If you’re setting up a website, you’re going to be in need of a web hosting service. It’s as simple as that, but with a multitude of service providers all trying to get your custom, who should you choose and why?
When I first setup my website I was a complete novice and had three priorities, I wanted an online presence, I wanted to be able to use WordPress and as I was starting out, the price had to be affordable. On reflection, I think price played the main focus and after three years with another service provider, I soon learned the hard way that you get what you pay for. Moreover, as my knowledge and experience grew, I soon learned that my provider did not meet my needs and what they did provide was very limited unless I was willing to spend double the money. After some reflection and thinking about current and future needs I started looking for alternative host providers.
After spending a few months looking at what was on offer I came across Siteground, price wise they were in the middle of the pack, but the reviews I read were all positive, I contacted SiteGround and asked a few questions and within a few day I parted with my money and signed up for their Startup service.
SiteGround Hosting is an independent web hosting company founded in 2004. They are based in Bulgaria but serve hosting markets globally. SiteGround positions themselves as a company offering high-quality, “well-crafted” hosting solutions.
See SiteGrounds Plans & Pricing SiteGround offers a spectrum of hosting solutions ranging from shared Linux hosting (the affordable, versatile kind used by most websites) all the way Cloud, WordPress and Reseller server solutions for large, growing websites.
They are one of the fastest growing independent (ie, not a brand owned by a larger corporate holding company) hosting companies.
Pros of SiteGround The problem with online reviews of any host provider is that the most positive and most negative reviews are generally worthless. Why? How many reviewers have knowledge of your project based on your goals, budget, experience, & expertise? The information below is a result of my personal experience of Siteground, together with factual Information that you can check online. Here are a few advantages as to why I think SiteGround are worth considering as a host provider.
Speed & Performance Shared Host Server.
When someone types in your website’s address, that request gets sent to your web hosting server for the files. it’s primarily your hosting server’s job to send the requested files to the visitor’s browser as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
SiteGround make a lot of promises about website speed throughout their site. So do they live up to what they promise?
SiteGround has major data centers around the globe – Chicago, London, Amsterdam, and Singapore. This matters because the physical distance that your website files have to travel matters.
In addition to major data centres another main factor of site speed is Time to First Byte (TTFB) – ie, how quickly the server sends the first byte of the first file in response to a request.
SiteGround does a solid job with allocation of resources. By definition, a shared hosting server is sharing resources among several customers. So it’s critical to get the allocation right. Many hosting companies will set very low memory limits on sites to keep a throttle on performance. As far as I can see from my install, SiteGround allows generous allocations with up to date software.
Siteground were one of the first hosting companies to make PHP7 standard, and keep rolling out cutting edge speed features for all accounts, not just the more expensive ones.
Although I take commissions for Horse Portraits throughout the year, the autumn is always a special time of year for me personally. I try to utilise the autumn season to try out new ideas and locations and this year my focus was at Skipwith Common.
Although Skipwith Common provides a great location for equine portraits, the two locations that I found that were most suitable are at opposite ends of the common, so lugging lighting kit from one location to another eats into time and requires effort.
Unfortunately, when we arrived for the first shoot on October the 5th, many of the leaves on the trees were still green, so we had to make the best of what little autumn colour we could find. Fortunately, as the sun was dipping in and out of the light grey clouds and there was little autumn colour around, I decided to try some hard lighting ideas, the only problem was de-rigging the kit and carrying it to another location.
Making the best of a location we could manage to carry the kit too, we set up a C Stand with two Godox AD200’s that were gridded in a reflector and then used an Einstein (Paul C Buff) with a long throw reflector.
Anyway, here are a few examples of what we achieved, pleased with the results, especially as the intended shoot was to make use of the autumn leaves that turned out to be a little lacking in colour. We have another shoot at Skipwith, so I hope the leaves will have turned, but will also do so a few more hard light shots too.