Monkey Monday - January 11th, 2021

How to take great photographs without an expensive camera.

Monkey Mondays | Photography |

In today’s vlog, Chris is sharing his knowledge of photography to give you some useful tips for capturing great shots for your website without forking out loads of cash for a new camera. You can actually get great quality digital photography using an iPhone (print photography is another story, and we may cover this one day!).

The key to great photography is not the kind of camera you use, but the kind of mentality you have. If you can think like a photographer, then you can take great photos.

Here’s the breakdown

00:44 - Intro

01:19 - Vlogging with the DJI Pocket 2

03:07 - Photography for your website

03:58 - Think like a photographer

05:44 - It’s not about the camera

06:19 - Shoot the right thing

07:41 - Take your time

Freebies and downloads

Links

DJI Pocket 2

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Transcript Show / Hide

Happy new year!
Happy new year, indeed.
Did you have a wonderful Christmas?
Um, well it's December still. It's before Christmas.
Okay. Well, we do film these in advance, so you're just gonna have to pretend, because they're going to watch it in the new year. Did you have a great Christmas?
Yes. I had a great Christmas. Thank you.
I also had a great Christmas.
We will probably be locked down again or something, who knows.
Anyway, it's 2021 now.
Yeah. And new for 2021, we've got this stripey thing on the back wall.
That's it, we keep it interesting, don't we. Who knows what lighting effect you're going to get next.
Yeah. Exactly.
It's very nice, Chris, well done.
Thank you. And today, a Monkey Monday for 2021. Um, I want to talk about photography and, uh, I get a lot of people, a lot of clients of ours, asking what camera they should buy and, uh, yeah. I don't really know because I'm a professional photographer and a camera man. So I would go, you need to spend 50,000 pounds and then they go away and go, Oh, well, I just can't do it. So, actually, I brought a camera in. Uh, this is - if you want to do vlogging, I found, uh, this little camera, look. Oh, there you go. This is a DJI Pocket 2. And I'm going to record some stuff. Say hello, Matt.
Hello, Matt.
Um, so, uh, if you want to do vlogging... if I triple tap... we could do vlogging like this.
Oh, that's nice, isn't it? Why do we bother with all this fancy setup? We can just do it like this.
Well, exactly. I mean, this is the thing. A lot of people want to try and do vlogging and I often go, just use your phone cause it's kind of easy. And then I found this and it's even easier.
It is amazing. Isn't it? And, uh, what's the audio like on that?
The audio's really good. Cause you can put on this, um, little, uh, microphone. There you go. You could, you could hold that or clip it on.
I'll hold it.
And I'll just flip around and then you can do a piece to camera, Matt, quite easily.
Onward Christian soldiers... I don't know the rest of the words.
Marching us to war, -I think is the thing. But this whole setup with the mic and the extra bit is about 400 quid and every other, um, piece of camera gear that I recommend, every DSLR kind of thing, starts at about 800. So if you're trying to do a vlog, I would definitely check out the DJI Pocket 2. That is my, uh, tip for 2021.
That's a great tip. And it is an amazing piece of gear. Um, you're going to use it more aren't you, to do some small ad hoc bits to camera.
Yeah, I've already used it quite a bit and it's really powerful and it's really easy. And that is the main thing, because when you're doing a vlog, you need to be just concentrating on what you're saying rather than having to deal with technology. And the second piece of advice - obviously, people asking me for cameras when they're trying to put images on their website and I, um, don't want to give, uh, an idea of what camera you should buy because I think most people have the cameras that they need, and that is with an iPhone. Because - here's a picture of my garden just before all the leaves, uh, came off the trees. And, uh, I tried to put myself in the situation of a, maybe a garden designer or - my garden's not that great - but this is the picture that they would take of my garden and, uh, you go, that's fine. I'll just stick it on the website. But that is what most people do when they try and produce images for their own website. They just go, I finished the job. I'm going to take a picture. I'm going to run away. But, really, rather than buying equipment, you should think like a photographer, because - imagine if you hired a photographer to come in and take a picture of a job you've just done and they go, Oh, I've got, I got one minute. Okay. Yeah. I'll take a picture. Right? Okay. See you later. You wouldn't pay them money, would you? So, um, I would suggest you take your iPhone. And then what I did was, uh, walk around my garden and take pictures that a photographer might take. So get some foreground, have a wide angle lens, go to the angles that you don't normally stand at because most people, when they take pictures, they just take the picture from their eye level. They just go, yeah, I've, I've taken a picture of that. That's fine, that'll show all my workmanship. Um, but, go very low to the ground, have a big rock in the foreground, go under a tree. That tree is about six foot, 10 foot tall. You have to really crouch to get underneath that, but it blocks out most of the sky and does something interesting in the frame. Maybe if you're doing a garden, the best picture is from the other end. So you really need to explore the place where you, where you're trying to get pictures from, because that is much better than the picture looking the other way, because it's got my house in the background rather than a fence and a shed. So it's all about thinking about what you can stick in the foreground of frame. This is a kid's old knackered bike. And, um, this one... guess what that is.
That is a, um, a trellis for your vineyard?
Uh, no. That's a kid's swing.
I was close.
But you see, you get my point on this that, um, most people just think it's down to the camera. It's not. You could give a really bad camera to a decent photographer and they would get a good image out of it.
They say the same with good guitarists, you know. Good guitarists could make any guitar sound good.
Oh yeah. Like--
I'm a bad guitarist. That's what I've learned. I can't even make an expensive guitar sound good.
Like that C16 bloke who just has a single string on a box of something or other.
There you go. Evidence, that is. I think it's really, um, it's really interesting. And I think the other thing to really focus on is what is the focus of your image and what you're trying to do. And a lot of the time people, um, they sometimes shoot the wrong thing because - especially when they're looking at what they're trying to advertise, if you like - so will shoot, they will just shoot their product - and you need to shoot your product sometimes, cause that is your product. But a lot of the time it's how that product might make you feel and what it does for you. Um, and getting like the reaction of a person or them using the product in some meaningful way, um, can really change that type of photography. So including people, um, into your, into your photography can really change your, your brand message.
Yeah. I, um, I remember that Moz article you, uh, shared about the perfect, uh, product page and the photographs in there of the, um, the wallets - there's, you need to have some which are just the wallets on white and all that kind of stuff, but just people getting them out of their pockets and just showing them in real context, it makes a massive difference.
Yeah. So think about what your photograph is designed to achieve. What are you trying to make the user or the viewer feel? Really key.
And I think it's in general terms, it's all about slowing down. And like everyone goes, I need some pictures for this! And they just go bosh bosh bosh. It's just, they just haven't thought about what images they're actually taking at all. And if you were to go to, um, buy - if you were to look at an advert for Coke and they've got a bottle of Coke, and you go, how long would they take to photograph that one bottle of Coke? And they're probably going to have set up a studio for a, for a day or two, then dress the product, dress the background. They're probably going to spend four or five days taking that one shot. And how could that compare to if you're taking pictures for your own website and you've spent 30 seconds. Which picture is going to come out better?
The key thing to take away is take your time. You don't need necessarily a professional photographer. You don't need a professional camera. You just need to switch your mindset and understand what you're shooting and why.
Yes. Slow down and be a bit more Zen about it.
Yes. Hammock time.
Hope we get more hammock time in 2021.
We're in 2021.
Yeah. Yeah. That's what I meant. Yeah.
Just so you know.
Okay. Fine. All right. See you.
Bye.

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