Thursday, November 4, 2010


A few thoughts for the digital photographer on what to do if you lose your photos stored on Compact Flash, SD or other camera memory cards. As published this week in the People's Post.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Latest Digital Tips

“Pyramides” at The Louvre, Paris. Note I have made the impromptu dancer the focus of the picture, that automatically tells a story about the structure as well.

This weeks Tip focuses on taking photos of massive architecture features, buildings etc.

You can read the rest of the posting in my Column in the People's Post.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Two options - same architecture

Cropped, converted to greyscale, with red channel component boosted.

This image was as exposed.

This image with contrast boosted.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Some of my readers ask me about how to shoot architecture and buildings appropriately.
Best answer I can give is that your photo must tell a story.
And you cannot fit a whole "book" into one photo. So pick out one dominant feature that gives the viewer of  your photo a very good feeling of being in front of that building / feature in life. Where is the eye drawn first?
Of course, there's a heap of technical stuff to get right, as well e.g. exposure, optimum light, optimal depth of field, etc.

Take a look below at a shoot I did for valued client, FIRESPEC at 11 Adderley Street Cape Town.

The theme of this shoot was the dominant red paneling applied to the walls of the building looking into the atrium.

The pics below show how sections can be used to good effect, due to the massive nature of the building within the atrium.

This pic shows some distortion. Not surprising, since the lens was taken back to about 15 mm !

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Adapted from my latest column in the People's Post - July 2010

A reader recently shared a series of his landscape photos with me. For example, a photo featured a very interesting view of a lagoon – resembling Knysna in the Western Cape. Significantly, he used an old wooden jetty to lead the eye into the photo, and kept a good depth of field, meaning that both the foreground and the background is in focus. Images like these help to bring out the character of a holiday venue by making a feature of ordinary things that might have been lost in a bigger landscape. They make your holiday memories much more interesting.

To achieve high depth of field, set your camera on a high f-stop (e.g. f16) or use the “Landscape” feature on your digital camera. To enure the camera selects the highest possible f-stop, and to minimise camera shake which can cause blurring, use an ISO setting around ISO400 – meaning don't set your camera to Auto ISO. Override it manually. Then, focus the camera on an object nearby to you, for example the closest of the posts on the left or the right. Force your camera to focus on this point by centering it in the viewfinder and hold the shutter release button halfway down. This will lock the exposure and the focus. Then recompose your picture in the viewfinder to the landscape you want, and push the shutter button down all the way. With a high depth of field, this should mean that everything in the background is also in focus.

Another trick is to offset the object of main interest to the left or to the right “one third” of the photo, instead of placing it in the centre. This adds interest to the photo from a composition point of view. Finally, you can convert to black and white on your computer. 

Digital photography tips by Gareth Griffiths. Read his Blog at . Email , or email the People's Post .
Gareth is considering offering group coaching on digital. If interested, please contact via email.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Two of the most important features of the digital camera - sensors & lenses.

Both make the difference between expensive camera at over R 4 000 and a cheaper version costing R 1000 and above. Bear in mind, “computers with a lens” are cheap, but great lenses are very expensive. Megapixels are no replacement for good quality lenses and sensors. Think of the sensor in your camera as the direct equivalent of film. In many cases, they are even the same size – the negative of APS C-sized film is exactly the same size as the sensor of many modern digital cameras. If you want to test the quality of a sensor, upload your photo onto a computer and study the dark areas closely. Lesser quality sensors will not differentiate the contrast between of light and shade efficiently and the shade will appear as a series of 3-coloured dots under 100% view.
The lens is more important – for much the same reasons as film cameras.

Bear in mind that the lens of a "point and shoot" compact can never achieve the same degree of precision as that of an SLR (single lens reflex) camera. Ask to test a camera before you buy it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010



Weddings and Photography! - tip number 1.

This is a big question! Best left to a reputable professional photographer, the most important aspect is the professional relationship and understanding between the couple and their photographer.

Pre-wedding meetings are essential and I like to suggest an informal “engagement” shoot at a relaxed venue at least a week before the wedding.

Brides are advised to check the what exactly is included in their wedding shoot packages. It's a case of horses for courses. However, it is best to ensure that your precious Rands are spent on a solid reliable photographer with decent equipment first, before the gimmicks.

A number of suppliers these days rely heavily on fixing errors and adding special effects afterwards using the computer – so called “photoshopping”. This can lead to long delays, sometimes up to 4 weeks or longer, in finished work being delivered to the happy couple.

Best clear this upfront before paying your deposit.

More Weddings and Photography! Tip Number 2

What to do if we can't afford a big wedding shoot? The cheapest approach is an all-digital shoot, preferably professional. Prints and enlargements can always be done later, but it is important that the actual photography is as professional as possible.

If you simply have to use a favourite aunt or uncle to take pics, here are some tips:

  • Make sure that they shoot from the best possible position and that they shoot at the highest possible digital resolution their camera can do.
  • If they are using film, ask them to use quality film and even a roll of black and white film for closeups of the couple.
  • Rather shoot off too many photos than too few.
  • Watch the lighting situation and remember to use flash!
  • Ask the person with the camera to break away with bride and groom for some personal pics right after the ceremony. Avoid crowds.
  • Be aware of the background in the photo. Ask the photographer to take a few shallow depth of field shots (more later).
  • Finally, have a backup person with a second camera.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Stephen and Jana - Boulders Beach Lodge & Boardwalk.

Stephen, from JHB, wanted an 'intimate' photoshoot to surprise his Cape Town-based student girlfriend, Jana - with a special romantic weekend at the Boulder Beach Lodge.

So I met the young couple on location and tailed them as they explored the intimate beaches and walked the Boardwalk.

Monday, February 8, 2010