Why I couldn’t live without Lightroom by Tiffany Matthews

When I started my journey into photography, I swore to myself that my images would stay as raw and as out of camera as they could and no or as little editing as possible would take place. Well, that’s definitely not the case now. Apart from my camera itself Lightroom is the software that I could not live without and here’s why:

Colour grading
: Lightroom has HSL, Luminance and Saturation sliders which mean you can do literally anything you want with your colour. You can make grass pink, change the sky red or even just lower the tones to create a softer look. For me this is THE best part of playing around in Lightroom.

Sharpness: Now, I am sure we have all taken a photo on our camera and thought it was completely in focus only to realise after downloading that it's not as sharp as you thought it was. Well, Lightroom can fix this... sort of. Half way down the editing section on the right we come across the details tab. Here you can increase your sharpness, mask it to certain places and even lower your noise (take out that grainy look if you are shooting with high ISO). But don’t go too far, a little can go a long way.

Brushes and gradients - another part of Lightroom I could not live without: Lightroom is the brother of Photoshop and so there are similar editing tools in both. Lightroom gives you the opportunity to heal parts of your image. This is great for taking out unwanted zits or back marks on walls that aren’t meant to be there. Gradients are also extremely fun to play with too. Once you know where you want your gradient placed you can use it to highlight the angle of the light or darken a corner that you want to lose attention in. Basically just play around and have some fun.

And finally presets. So you’ve spent hours on one image using brushes, changing the saturation and masking in areas of sharpness but now how do you make the other 100 images exactly the same? Well, that's where presets come in. On the left of the screen is a button called presets, once clicked you create a ‘filter’ where you can select what you want to keep the same and then apply it to any image in your library. You can make as many presets as you like and use them on whatever shoot you do. Create a signature style and if your presets are that great, you could even sell them.

So there’s the main reasons why Lightroom is my best friend in photography. I couldn’t live without it.


5 Simple Hacks for Getting That Great Shot by Tiffany Matthews

I usually get asked ‘what advise would you give photographers starting out’, so apart from the whole spiel about what camera is best and lens etc, then this would be my advise:

Hack 1: Lighting - It may sound simple but for me lighting is the most crucial component to creating a good image. Natural light is always best but time of day is important too. In my opinion, unless you’re wanting harsh solid lines DO NOT SHOOT AROUND MIDDAY. The best time is either the few hours after sunrise or the few hours before sunset where light is at it’s softest and there is no dark , contrasting shadow. You could even get some fab shots on a cloudy day as the lighting is pretty even.

Hack 2: Play with your depth of field - Depending on your lens you should be able to have a play with taking image closer or further away. Sometimes experimenting with close up shots can create a completely different style of image to taking something else where the subject is further away. Focus in on the detail of things such as a piece or jewellery, an eyeball or even a few strands of hair? Or try the other way round and take a few steps back to create a wide image where you focus on the landscape or a tree in the distance.

Hack 3: Know your subject - It’s all very well getting a camera and thinking it’s all about pointing and shooting but being able to really understand your subject makes your work stand out from the rest. If you are about to do a family shoot, look at the relationships of the family, what makes the children laugh, the cute moments they have all together, you could even make it a game of hide and seek and really interact with your subject. Remember photographs are moments, and what’s better than capturing a completely beautiful moment as you’ve got to know the subject before.

Hack 4: Don’t be afraid to tell people what YOU want - One thing I seem to be useless at is asking people to move a hand up or down, smile a little more, or even just move out of the way of the image. You are the photographer and you are the only one seeing through the lens so if you see something that needs changing with an image then don’t be afraid to tell your subject! It saves you hours on Photoshop after!

Finally Hack 5: Enjoy it - If you, the photographer, seem to be happy with the images and are having a great time then that bounces off on your subject too! Say the occasional ‘Great!’ or ‘I love this shot’. Remember, the vibe you give off reflects your business - so be happy!

5 Reasons to shoot during Golden Hour. by Tiffany Matthews

The hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset are known in the photography world as Golden Hour. These two magical times are a photographers dream as the light has a beautiful soft, golden feel which when using in your images creates that glow that no other time of day does.
For me, lighting is everything. Natural light is by far the best kind to use but you need to understand when and where you will benefit from it most. Here are 5 reasons why it is crucial to your photography:

  1. The colours - No amount of retouching or editing in photoshop can give you those warm golden tones that this time of day can. Especially the hour before sunset.

  2. No unwanted shadows - the trouble with shooting at midday, apart from the harsh white light, is the unwanted shadows you get. These can be lifted in Lightroom after but only so far. Golden hour kicks these shadows to the side and instead creates depth by the contrast in golden warm tons.

  3. Backlighting - Another reason not to shoot at midday . Get your model to stand just in front of the sun and start snapping. You can highlight different shapes of their body, use it to shine through their hair, or just to create a bit more of a dramatic effect.

  4. Quieter and Calmer - I usually find that Golden Hour times are a lot less quieter than normal. The sea is calmer, the wind is weak and there are less people which means cleaner photography. (it also means no one to get in your way or unwated hair stuck to the models lipgloss)

  5. The overall feel - Golden hour to me makes any image feel more magical. It’s a time I love to play with lighting, shadows and silhouttes and really get creative with my work. Not only do models look great at this hour but landscapes are fun to play around with too. Maybe even try a long exposure and get that sea mist rolling in and that golden light shining through.

The image below is one of my favourites I have taken during Golden Hour.
Model: Beth Le Cheminant
Camera: Canon 5d Mkiii
Lens: 24-70mm