My favourite keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop explained.

Yesterday I posted my favourite keyboard shortcuts in Adobe Photoshop. I thought it would be a good idea to explain what they were, so here goes.

J - Spot healing brush. This is one of my favourite tools in Photoshop. The only thing I use more is the clone stamp tool. You can also use this shortcut to get to the patch repair tool, equally awesome and one that I am using more and more. You just have to change the brush using the mouse. And don't think that this tool is for spot removal only - it does much much more than that.

S - Clone stamp tool. Yes this is what I use for everything that the spot healing brush can't do. You select an area to sample from and paint over the area requiring attention. An incredibly useful and powerful tool.

[ - Decrease brush size. With any tool or brush, pressing this bracket key reduces the size of the brush. I use this all the time in conjunction with the clone stamp tool and spot healing brush.

] - Increase brush size. I don't need to elaborate on this any more....

Control 1 - Zoom the image to 100%. I use this before checking an image for dust spots, defects etc.

Home - go to the top left corner of an image. I use this in conjunction with the zooming above - this starts me off in the top left hand corner.

Control 0 - go to the full view of the image. Normally once I have finished some kind of detail work to see how good my work was.

Page Down - to scroll down the image one screen at a time. Whilst going through my editing/ cleaning/ tidying/ polishing of an image.

Space bar - press the space bar key and hold it down. The mouse pointer becomes a grabber so you can navigate around the image

Control S - saves an image back into my Lightroom Catalogue as a Tif file right next to the original RAW file.

Control Z - to undo the last thing I did

Shift Alt Z - to go back more than one step

I hope that you find these keyboard shortcuts helpful. I use Photoshop to clean up images after processing in Lightroom. These keyboard shortcuts allow me to do this quickly and efficiently and save me loads of time.

Rick McEvoy Photography

Sunday 19th March 2017

It is time for me to update the Dorset Photographer page on my website

I have been working on new content for my Dorset photographer page. The content needed a refresh, being over a year old, and there is lots more I want to say about my pictures of Dorset, and a brand-new collection of images to show.

So how did I go about doing this?

Like this.

I put all my Dorset photos into a single Collection in Lightroom, which crosses over with my collections of 2008 and 2009. Well every year actually. This is fine as long as I remember to reject and then physically delete the things I don’t want from each collection. I am trying to attack my catalogue from all angles to get rid of stuff I don’t want.

Having all my photos of Dorset in one collection meant that the images were immediately available to me on Lightroom Mobile, where I could go through them and just select picks of things that look interesting. And being on Lightroom Mobile I could do this anywhere, including in the queue for the car wash!

I started this and it was going quite well but I found something I liked the look of so I stopped and edited it.

I know – I really must stop doing this and stick to going through those few thousand images.

I was not being too scientific with the initial picks – anything that I liked the look of or that was something different. I had decided that I might not go for the headline iconic Dorset tourist landmarks like Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove etc etc (well there might be a few) - no not me – I was going to come up with something different.

Probably…

So, having all my Dorset photos in one collection, I was able to browse these images at my leisure.

Having gone through and crudely picked things I liked the look of I had over 150 images. All I had to do then was narrow them down to a set of twelve images which will go into my gallery of Dorset photos.

I was not sure if I was going to include just landscape photography images, or if I was going to broaden things out to include architectural and/ or interior photography images.

This was another time when my iPad Pro proved invaluable – this is one of the things I really wanted the iPad for – selecting images. And of course, I did some quick edits which I posted – this is pleasurable work for me made even more so by the iPad Pro.

Having picked the set of 12 images what next? Well edits of the images and lots of lovely new text to accompany the images and get me higher up the rankings in Google.

This piece of work will also give me lots of new things to write about on my photography blog – as ever one thing leads to lots of new content and also lots of new images.

At the time of writing I have a shortlist of 12 images, and some text which you can read on my Dorset Photographer web page.

But that is not the end. Oh no. Far from it.

Now I have to go through the images one by one and re-edit them. And I will write about this as I am producing the images which will replace the existing ones on this page of my photography website.

To do this I am going to create virtual copies of the 12 chosen images and then do full edits at my leisure and write about these separately –these edited images will also feed into my commercial stock photography libraries.

This sounds like a plan, and one that I will repeat with other pages. My immediate priorities are

Dorset photographer page

Hampshire photographer page

Poole photographer page

Sandbanks photographer page

Cornwall photographer page

Wiltshire photographer page

So, I will get on with the Dorset page then get on with my Hampshire photography page using the same process.

Rick McEvoy Photography

Thursday 16th March 2017

Tilt Shift Photography – this post is the beginning of my journey into photography with these specialist Canon lenses

This week I became the proud owner of a Canon 24mm Tilt Shift Lens.

I bought this magnificent thing second hand, as I want to learn how to use the lens before I commit to buying a brand spanking new lens, for quite a lot of money.

There is another reason for going down the second hand route – I am not sure if I will be happy with the 24mm focal length.

Canon produce four tilt shift lenses, which come in the following focal lengths

Canon 17mm f4 L TS-E

Canon 24mm f3.5 L TS-E

Canon 45mm f2.8 TS-E

Canon 90mm f2.8 TS-E

My problem is that I am used to the wideness of my Canon 17-40mm lens, which I use a lot, especially for interior photography work. I am also used to zoom lenses, so will find the fixed focal length a strange experience I have no doubt.

Time will tell, and this is precisely why I am going to try the 24mm Mark 1 version of the lens first.

Tilt shift lenses are specialist lenses, and are used mainly in architectural photography, as well as in landscape photography. I take architectural photography in the broadest sense, covering

Architectural photography

Construction photography

Construction product photography

Industrial photography

Interior photography

Interior design photography

Basically all the things I photograph.

And landscape photography of course.

This is the first post in a series of posts I will be writing about my experiences with tilt shift lenses. For now there is just one thing for me to do.

Put the lens on my camera and play.

After I have downloaded the user manual from the Canon website that is. It would help if I knew how to use the lens.

And another benefit of taking photographs with a tilt shift lens is that it will slow me down ever more.

I am hoping that the quality of my photography is going to increase as I slow down and use this new lens on my Canon 6D.

I will write updates as and when I have news, along with lots of new images.

Rick McEvoy Photography

Canon Photographer with a tilt shift lens

Wednesday 15th March 2017

Why should you hire me to photograph your construction site?

Why should you hire me to photograph your construction site? That is the question.

This was originally titled “What is the reality of being a photographer on a live construction site?”. I changed the title to the one you can see above.

And this is a natural follow on from the series of  posts about my construction product photography work over the last week or so.

Please read this (if you don’t mind) and find out why you should consider me when you are looking for a professional photographer to photograph your construction site.

Taking pictures on a busy construction site

I am normally asked to photograph construction sites, and indeed products, immediately before completion of the site works. If you have never been on a construction site immediately before practical completion you might be surprised by what you find. Lots going on - that is the generous way of putting it! Seriously these are very busy times, with everyone under pressure to complete their works.

And there is the further conundrum of client fit out, furniture, fixtures, fittings and specialist client equipment. FF&E is a term often used on construction by the way – furniture, fixtures and equipment. See I know this stuff!

The timing of when to carry out the shoot can make or break a shoot.

But once the optimum time has been agreed with my client there are many things that I have to contend with. So agreeing the when is just the beginning.

Site induction

Before going on most construction sites I have to go through a site induction. This time needs building in and pre-planning of course. Just turn up at a construction site and you will probably be turned away these days!

And quite rightly so.

I have lost count of the number of site inductions I have attended.

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

The rules vary from construction site to construction site as to what PPE is required. Also the timing can impact on what is required to be worn. I have all my own PPE, which covers me for 99% of scenarios.

CSCS Cards

I am a current Managerial and Professional CSCS card holder. This proves my competence to be on construction sites, and that I have the required knowledge in construction health and safety. Well I have more than a CSCS card but that is another story…

Mobility on site. And more importantly minimising the impact of my presence on your construction.

My photography gear is all packed away safely and nicely in one compact bag, leaving both my hands free at all times for me to safely access all parts of a construction site. This is a serious consideration. I have seen photographers turn up on sites I have been working on with all sorts of completely impractical equipment, including once large roller bag which the poor photographer was expecting to wheel half a mile across a muddy field to the site!

I don’t use lights but do use a tripod.

Mud

Yes mud. I have to get from the cabins to the site. More often than not the grounds are not completed and I have to walk through mud to get there. And having walked through the mud I then find yourself inside a brand new sparkly building interior!

See above re camera bags.

Working at height

By the time I am invited to site works in the ground are pretty much done, apart from the nice finishing touches that is. Like grass. And plants and trees and stuff.

I am often climbing up scaffolding just to get to the view I need, or to get to the part of the site I need to get to. And that is of course with all my camera gear and PPE on. If I am really lucky I get to ride in a MEWP. I have sat in steeplejacks seat boards, and been in metal things suspended from mobile cranes. Back in the olden days that is.

Most times however I have a huge expanse of not quite finished building to photograph without getting in everyone’s way while everyone is rushing around trying to finish their own works.

I am often on scaffolds and the roofs of buildings for obvious reasons, and not so obvious reasons. Often there is plant mounted on the roof that you cannot see from the ground, which can make for interesting subject matter. And of course there are often spectacular views from the roofs of many of the buildings I photograph. Yes they are sometimes for my benefit.

Weather

Yes the good old British weather. Who wants their shiny new building photographing in the rain? No-one!

I can, with some special tricks I have, make the weather look much better than it was at the time of taking the photographs, but this can be time consuming and expensive to achieve realistically. Most of the time I just have to wait for good weather.

Unless of course it is a construction product shoot internally, in which case the weather is not an issue.

And there is the wind, rain and the cold. Sometimes construction sites can be colder than outside. Dark, damp cold environments with lots of wet materials and structures shedding water as they dry out.

Darkness

This is a serious issue, especially on refurbishment projects in existing buildings, and the larger construction sites. Don’t worry – I have gear to help me deal with this issue.

Incomplete works

Another issue. The thing I turn up to photograph not being complete. Or still being worked on. Or not actually there.

It happens!

Dust

Construction sites can be very very dusty, so I need to take extra care changing lenses and keeping the front element of my camera lens clean.

Furniture

Do I photograph the building with the furniture in or the furniture not in? It depends who has commissioned me, what they want pictures of and when they want them. I would of course rather photograph a fully furnished building but sometimes that is not possible.

So who would choose to photograph live construction sites?

Someone who has spent a lifetime working on constructions sites, and a lifetime working on their photography skills.

That would be me then.

And that is why I am a great person for you to speak to about photographing your construction site, product or material being installed on a construction site or recently completed building.

All the things I have written about above I am completely familiar with and comfortable with.

I have an array of photography gear tailored to allow me to work quickly and efficiently in these environments. I also have lots of non-photography related equipment which I carry in my site camera bag. I have assembled my construction photography tool-kit over a number of years.

I know construction. I understand construction sites.

I am fully equipped, with lightweight, mobile, durable gear that allows me to do my work quickly, efficiently, professionally and to an excellent technical standard whatever the environment.

And I am fully insured of course.

And finally.

I  am a current Managerial and Professional CSCS card holder. I am a Chartered Builder. I have a lifetime working in construction.

Oh yes, and I am a professionally qualified photographer.

So what are you waiting for?

All you need to do is phone, email or complete the form on my contact page with your construction photography related enquiry.

I have a couple of pages which are all about my construction photography - my construction photographer page and my construction product photographer page. You can see examples of the pictures I have taken on construction sites on these pages. 

Rick McEvoy MCIOB, LBIPP

Professional Photographer

Monday 13th March 2017

The last word (for now that is) about my work and experience as a construction product photographer

Having spent lots of time on lovely fluffy landscape pictures it was good to get back to the nitty gritty of what I do. Is nitty gritty actually a word? Well two words?

Sorry. Having one of those moments.

  • Construction photography.
  • Construction product photography.
  • Product photography on construction sites.
  • Photography of construction products.

Well I don’t know which term to use? It is an SEO nightmare.

But in all seriousness taking photographs of products on construction sites is a specialist area of commercial photography. And one that I specialise in.

The timing is critical – too soon and the works are not advanced enough. Too late and the client has moved in and is using the new building.

The taking of the pictures can be challenging. Taking photographs in a live construction site as the overall construction project reaches practical completion can mean getting in the way of lots of very busy people all under pressure trying to deliver to individual deadlines. Not really a good time be expected to stand and wait while a stranger takes some pictures!

Taking photographs in a noisy, dusty, dark, damp and unfamiliar environment is not exactly the easiest thing to do either.

Photographing in a live construction environment requires speed, efficiency and the correct equipment.

You also need the correct clothing and personal protective equipment.

And the timing of when the shoot takes place requires planning and prior arranging with the principal contractor.

It might sound like a difficult ask, but it’s fine if you engage a specialist like myself, qualified in photography and construction and fully familiar with working on live construction sites.

The shoot I was writing about went smoothly. Until I received a phone call from site that is. I had taken one of the keys with me by mistake. I was the other side of Portsmouth when I took the call, thankfully they were understanding enough to allow me to return the key the next morning.

Don’t let that put you off getting in touch with me about photographing your shiny new building or product.

I have photographed some big construction product names to date, including

  • Marshalls paving
  • Flue Stax flue inspection equipment. Not strictly a product. Well the equipment is….
  • KRend render
  • Catnic lintols
  • Rockwool insulation and cladding
  • Tobermore paving
  • Cell Security equipment
  • Dulux Pyroshied paint
  • Sports hall flooring by Gerflor
  • ElliottUK modular buildings
  • A petrol station for Morrisons by Elliott UK
  • BASF Walltite sprayed insulation

Head over to my new web page all about my work as a construction product photographer and you can see pictures of each of the commercial shoots listed above.

Rick McEvoy Photography

Construction product photographer

Sunday 12th March 2017