I am a Melbourne-based photographer with over 35 years of experience beginning way back in the middle ’80s. My main goal is to help you to learn the difference between “just taking a photograph” and capturing that “great shot”, with a strong emphasis on being “creative”.
I won’t give lectures, but instead, we will discuss while we walk and photograph. We discuss composition, light, technique and style, and how to be more creative without using your program mode.
I lead regular photography workshops in Melbourne and its surrounds. I have a huge variety of 3-hour, full-day photography workshops and Private Lessons with complete camera instruction in some of the most beautiful and exciting locations. Our workshops and classes are for ALL skill levels. Anyone who has an interest in seeing beautiful places and capturing amazing images (while having fun doing it!) belongs to our photography workshops.
What makes my workshops different from other workshops?
I am not just a tour leader – I will bring years of teaching experience to the table - a strong background with photo technique as well as an understanding photography gear. Although I can usually chat your ear off about the area, we will be in.
My group sizes are always reasonable - There will never be too many people in our photography classes for me to offer individual attention to anyone who needs it.
My workshops are about YOU – I am there to teach, period.
I have Pre-Scouted Locations - Your first time there will NOT be MY first time there.
Our workshops are about having FUN!
And most of all, I have a PURE PASSION FOR TEACHING, SHARING AND INSPIRING YOU! From beginner DSLR courses, I've got you covered!
Here’s what’s in my bag
Here is a sneak peak into my landscape photography kit bag. Below you will find the breakdown of camera bodies, lenses, filters, tripods, memory cards and all of the other photography equipment that I use.
I love my Kata Bumblebee PL-220 Backpack. It has a place for everything plus a laptop.
Lightweight professional backpack
Carries 2-3 DSLR bodies, up to 8 lenses & flash
Also holds accessories, tripod and most 17" laptops
Gecko Harness with adustable belt
EPH system compatible
Supplied elements cover
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Camera
My brand new body. I am very excited about this one. After losing my Canon 5D III into the Hobson Bay at Williamstown, my insureance company replaced my boy with the Canon 5D IV.
I am loving my new camera. The Mark IV is a superior camera to the Mark III with so many new features such as the LCD touchscreen, built-in wifi, 4K video capability, and higher megapixels.
The 5D Mark IV captures 30MP — 30% more resolution than the 5D Mark III — that is a great advantage. More pixels means sharper images when you downsize. The 5D Mark IV also captures more dynamic range than any 5D series camera body to date.
The new 5D has Touch Screen Capabilities
Not only can you now change all your camera settings very quickly using the new LCD touch screen on the back of the camera (instead of having to push buttons and spin a wheel to change things like ISO, drive mode, etc), but you can now also pinch to zoom when reviewing photos and scroll through them quickly by swiping, just like on a Smartphone
Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR Camera
I love Canon cameras. I really do. My dad brought a Canon AE1 when I was a teenager and I was fascinated by it. I actually still have it in its bag with all the lens and filters in my camera collection.
I currently shoot on the Canon 5D Mark III for all my work and have a 7d body as an insurance policy in case anything happens to my main camera body.
Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR Camera
I currently shoot on the Canon 5D Mark III for all my work and have a 7d body as an insurance policy in case anything happens to my main camera body.
No ifs, ands or buts. If you your main camera breaks in the middle of the day and you don’t have a backup camera you’ll be responsible for the loss of some pretty important memories.
The nice thing about backup cameras is that they don’t need to be the newest, most expensive model—they just need to be able to step in and do a good job on the off-chance your main camera breaks down. It should at least be an SLR that works with your lenses, but doesn’t necessarily need to be full frame.
The Nifty Fifty - EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
A 50mm lens is often referred to as a “nifty fifty” because it is so versatile and easy to use. It is also an inexpensive investment that promises to improve your photography without weighing down your camera or your bag. It is a lens you can shoot with all day or easily keep tucked away when needed. A 50mm prime (the word photographers use when you are talking about a lens that doesn't change in focal length or “zoom”) is probably the cheapest way to dramatically improve the image quality of your photos.
A 50mm lens comes the closest to capturing what you eye naturally sees, so many beginning photographers find it a good training lens. Keep in mind though, that if you have a crop camera, such as a Nikon D5300 or a Canon 70D, then it is the 35mm lens that is roughly equivalent to 50mm on a full-frame camera (a 50mm lens is still a GREAT choice for a crop). The reason this is a good focal length to train your eye is that there is nothing to get used to. If, without a camera, you need to get closer to something to get a better look at it, you’d do the same with a 50mm lens (or equivalent) mounted on your camera. Likewise, if you need to back up to see something more fully, you’d be doing the same with a 50mm lens. Having a fixed focal length also requires you to spend a little more time composing each shot, which is never a bad thing.
When you see a portrait, for instance, that has a softly blurred background behind the subject, this is caused by using a shallow depth of field. This can be achieved by using a low f-stop on the lens. However, your kit lens probably only goes down to about f/3.5, whereas a truly shallow depth of field begins around f/2.8. You can achieve this with your little Nifty Fifty.
Introduction Specifications and Features Launched some three months ago, the new EF 50mm f1.8 STM replaces the previous Mark II model, and although it is still intended as an entry-level prime, it features a number of enhancements over its cost-conscious predecessor. With a total of 6 elements arranged in 5 groups, the optical formulae of the two models remains unchanged. The new better-made version, however, focuses closer down — from 17.8” (45cm) to 13.78” (35cm), has improved coatings, and features a circular 7-bladed aperture. It also includes a stepper (STM)-type motor for quieter and smoother AF.
Best at f=50mm & f/2.8
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens
The EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM is a “compact” super telephoto zoom for Canon full frame cameras. At 100mm, it’s excellent for portraits, extending all the way to the 400mm and only 6º of angle of view, nice for distant animals, landscapes and sports; made for professionals. So it is expected to be a top of the line build, AF performance and optics, with a price tag to match.
I love this lens for so many different situations. I use it for portraits or Macro. The 100-400 has very good close focus ability; Maximum Magnification (MM) is 0.31x.
It is a favorite for shooting a wedding when I am not an official photographer. I can stand up the back of the wedding with my 5D on silent and still get amazing photos.
Of course, it is also perfect for sports photography. It is my favorite lens in my bag.
Best at f=100mm & f/4.5
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens
Canon's EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens embraces a revamped optical design with modern coating technologies that promise improved outer and corner sharpness along with minimal distortion and enhanced peripheral illumination.
A member of Canon's legendary L series, this full-frame 16-35mm delivers outstanding image quality and a professional-grade durability. It also offers a fast and constant f/2.8 maximum aperture for consistent performance and light transmission throughout the zoom rangeKEY
Canon L-Series Quality Optics
Wide-angle 16-35mm Zoom Range
Full Frame Compatible
Ultra-Sonic Motor (USM) Autofocus
Fast constant f/2.8 Aperture
82mm Filter Diameter
Sharpness Best at f=16mm & f/2.8
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
Shooting the majesty and grandeur of landscapes requires a certain kind of lens.
This lens is equipped with the signature L series durability, with outstanding dust-proof and drip-proof construction. With a 9-blade circular aperture diaphragm, it is able to make your subject stand out against beautiful background blur. Its ultra wide-angle zoom with Canon’s 4-stop Image Stabilizer ensures clear, sharp and expansive images, making it great for travel and general use.
Focal length and maximum aperture: 16-35 mm 1:4
Lens construction: 16 elements in 12 groups Diagonal angle of view: 108°10′ - 63°
Focus adjustment: Inner focus system
Closest focusing distance: 0.28 m/0.92 ft., 0.23 x magnification
Filter size: 77 mm
Max. diameter x length, weight: ø 82.6 x 112.8 mm, 615 g/ 3.3" x 4.4", 21.7 oz.
Equipped with IS
If you're shooting a cropped-sensor camera, use the Canon EF-S 10-18mm ultrawide instead of the 16-35mm. A full-frame 16-35 is a bad idea on APS-C DSLRs because it's too heavy and expensive for the little bit of the center of its image you're using, and it's merely a midrange zoom on APS-C, not ultrawide. The 10-18mm works better on crop frame, and only costs a fraction of the 16-35mm.
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0L IS USM
The 24-105mm is a fantastic portrait lens. It’s super flattering, and does a great job at isolating your subject. It’s also perfect for those times when you need a bit more reach than a 50mm.
This easy-to-use standard zoom lens can cover a large zoom area ranging from 24mm wide-angle to 105mm portrait-length telephoto, and its Image Stabilizer Technology steadies camera shake up to three stops. Constructed with one Super-UD glass element and three aspherical lenses, this lens minimizes chromatic aberration and distortion. The result is excellent picture quality, even at wide apertures. Canon's ring-type USM gives silent but quick AF, along with full-time manual focus. Moreover, with dust- and moisture-resistant construction, this is a durable yet sophisticated lens that meets the demands of advanced amateur photographers and professional photographers alike.
EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens is an extremely fun lens to use. It combines excellent image quality with a useful focal length, a relatively small/light body, fast/quiet AF with 1:1 (1x) macro capabilities - and HIS (Hybrid Image Stabilization).
The 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM is a solid workhorse even for Portraits. I can shoot it wide open at lower shutter speeds with a more free-form technique, and without fail, 95% of my shots will be dead-on accurate. In fact, I pretty much shoot it wide open exclusively when it comes to portraiture. Its hybrid IS is spectacular, and its AF performance is both precise and accurate. However, there's more to life than good autofocus and image stabilization.
Being a macro lens, it's superbly sharp, even wide open, though to be fair, its widest aperture of f/2.8 is the slowest of all in this article and is more than two stops slower than that of the 85mm f/1.2L. Nonetheless, f/2.8 is a perfectly good aperture for headshots, and with that 1:1 reproduction ratio and a minimum focusing distance of one inch, I can practically stick it up a subject's nose, so working distance is whatever I want it to be. The 100mm focal length renders facial topography very similarly to 85mm, though you can see a smidgen more compression of facial features.
Your camera and your lenses are the most important parts of your camera gear kit. But without the right accessories, you could find yourself in a tough spot! Here are the gizmos and gadgets we found useful.
Often people ask “Why do I need a good tripod”? The better question is “Who doesn’t need a good tripod”? A tripod is an essential accessory for every photographer from beginner to expert.
A stable tripod will make a difference when doing long exposure work or even regular shooting. Those $30 tripods don't really hold the camera securely, so them tend to shake when you press the shutter or get hit with a gust of wind.
The other huge factor is that a good tripod head can make all the difference. Cheap ones almost always sell with tilt-pan heads which are a real pain to use for photography. A nice ball head is a huge upgrade. If you use an unstable one, you're more likely to need to use the self timer to let the shaking die down before the shutter is released.
You have spent so much money on your Camera body and Lenses. You don't want to put them on a cheap tripod and find with one gust of wind they are hitting the concrete and smashing.
Manfrotto 190XPROB Tripod
This is my favorite Tripod. It is perfect for Macro work.
Whilst low weight carbon legs maybe the most convenient in terms of weight to carry, I prefer my tripod to be heavy. It's a bit harder work when you're out and about but too bad, it's worth it for sharper shots. In my experience a heavier tripod gives you greater stability, and although the hook on the central pillar with a bag weighing it down on a light tripod can be convenient, this is little use if your tripod is low down on the grass. In any case specialist macro tripods don't necessarily come with a central pillar to hook a bag on anyway, because they are designed to get them really really low on the ground with the legs splayed out.
By extending the column to its highest vertical position, the Manfrotto 190XPROB can be swung over to horizontal without removing the head or disassembling the column itself. The ergonomics of the leg-angle release mechanism and the quick-action leg locks have also been improved.
Manfrotto MK190X3-3W1 Aluminium Tripod with 804 MkII 3-Way Pan/Tilt Head
This tripod is a professional-level photography tripod which permits any number of heads to be used.
The tripod features 3 section legs that can be opened at 4 different angles independently to give you freedom and adaptability when shooting on sloping or uneven surfaces. Its leg angle adjustment enables shooting from as low as 9cm up to an impressive 160cm (excluding tripod head).
One important thing to remember when choosing a tripod head is that, as with tripod legs they have a maximum load capacity. You should therefore check whether the kit you are going to use it with falls within that capacity. Again we recommend Manfrotto as it is the brand we know best. Below are the two tripod heads I use.
Manfrotto 3 way Head
A 3 way head allows a bit more stability than a comparable ball head, but it is more complicated to use. You can lock the head in one direction e.g. up/down, and use it to pan sideways - or vice versa. That functionality gives you more options and more control, once you have mastered how to use it (which really isn't that difficult). We really like the stability and control these heads offer.
Manfrotto 327RC2 Joystick Head
The Manfrotto 327RC2 Joystick Head has been created for advanced photographers who require high-end performance and offers a fast, convenient and intuitive method of camera positioning. It features a handle based lock release lever which is squeezed to free the ball head and position the camera, and released again to securely lock it in position. This function makes it quick and simple to get your camera in the correct position for shooting - certainly much faster than fiddling about with separate locking knobs on a standard ball head!
UV and Clear Lens Protection Filters
I always have these on all my camera lenses. On a DSLR camera, the primary purpose of a Clear, UV or Skylight filter is to protect the front lens element. You will seldom see a difference in your image quality caused by using a high quality protective filter, but whether or not to use a protection filter is the big running debate. Neither side is wrong in this debate, but they have differing opinions – and the freedom of choice.
I personally advise the use of a protective filter as the merits to doing so are many. In most instances, a high quality filter will not degrade the final picture. A very bright light in the background of your picture *may* cause the filter to generate a small amount of flare, but I seldom detect any other filter-caused image defects. If I scratch the filter, I can simply remove it and keep shooting.
My favorite Filter
Any one who has done one of my workshops has probably seen me pull one of these out of my camera bag. I love them! But these are not the only ones on the market. Depending on your budget, you could look at square Lee Filters. These Hoya ProND's are a great starting point.
So what is a Neutral Density filter and what does it do? Why have one in your camera bag?
Neutral Density (or ND) filters are grey in appearance and are designed to reduce the amount of light entering the camera, thus creating the need for an increase in the overall exposure time, but giving no change in the colour or hue of the image.
Why should you want to increase the exposure time? Well, because it will enable the creative use of movement and blur in an image. For example, you may wish to produce a blurry misty effect on a waterfall or the sea but the sun is too bright and even at a small aperture the exposure may not be long enough. By applying an ND filter, the exposure will be increased and enough time will be created for the water to move during the exposure. The longer the exposure, the more silky blur is created.
Not only is using an ND great for creative water shots but also for any image where there is movement, such as cityscapes with people and traffic moving or where clouds are moving through an image. Using an ND filter will open up new and exciting ways of looking at the world around you.
Memory Cards // With long days of shooting, comes a lot of pictures, so I have quite a few memory cards on me at all times. The 5D mkiii's have a dual slot ability, so to ensure nothing happens to the images I shoot on the day, I have my photos recording to a CF card in the camera as well as an SD card too. So I have two copies of all my images before I even get back to the office!
Most of my CF cards are either 16GB or 32GB that I change throughout a shoot when they fill up. I have two 128GB SD cards that stay in my camera throughout the whole day that the CF card photos are backing up to as I shoot. There are lots of mentions that 128GB cards aren't reliable and it's not safe to have all your photos on one card, but it's a good option for a backup when your photos are already split up over a few different CF cards.
Having large SD cards also allows you to spend a full day shooting, come home, download all your photos, back them up, trash them from your CF cards, but keep them on your SD cards even if you have another shoot the day after. That way you don't need to delete all the original copies of your photos if you don't have the time to double check and make sure they have all downloaded correctly. Twice.
Memory Cards: Make sure you have enough memory cards to cover the whole day! Stick with a reputable brand name like SanDisk when dealing with something as critical as a wedding. We’ve used off-brand memory cards before and had difficulty downloading images a few times.