AIPA Membership

As of today I am officially a member of the AIPA (Advertising and Illustrative Photographers Association). The AIPA is an organisation dedicated to bettering the local photography industry and is passionate about fighting for the rights of photographers. I'm really happy to be part of such a great group of New Zealand photographers and look forward to getting to know some of the other awesome members. 

To learn more about the AIPA head along to their website -


Kingsize Scholarship Class 2015

Just thought I would put up a quick post to announce that I have been accepted into the Kingsize Scholarship Class for 2015. Am super pumped to see what the next three months hold - you will no doubt be seeing regular updates on what I'm up to. Stay tuned. 

Food Stories #1 - Riverside Cooking Waitawheta

In the last few days on 2014 Matt Dowdle and I took a weekend trip to the Waitawheta Gorge. We spent one night camped out in the bush and made dinner right on the riverbed. Preparing and eating food out in the middle of some glorious New Zealand bush is a pretty special experience. 

Summer 14/15 Vege Garden

Over the 2014/2015 Summer I decided that I would document the growth of the vege garden in our backyard. The following are a selection of the images I made. 

Don't worry about having the best gear until you REALLY need the best gear.

So yesterday I upgraded my camera kit, going from the Canon 550D (Rebel) to the crazy amazing Nikon D750. The majority of the images I have taken to date were taken on that 550D, its kit lenses and a 50mm. I probably took 40,000+ shots with that little thing... and I loved it. Sure at times (anytime it was even slightly dark) I'd be tearing my hair out, but on the whole that was a great little camera. And you know what, I'm glad I spent that long using that camera and I didn't start off straight away with a pro level camera. It forced me to really nail the shot - I didn't have a huge amount of leeway in post to fix things up. Using such a basic kit forced me to learn light and how to use the light to make great images. This was by far the most valuable learning experience in my photography journey.  

On a number of occasions I would be talking to someone about photography and that they also shot a bit as well. Whenever they would compliment me on my photography is would often be followed by something along the lines of 'You must have a great camera' - then it turns out you are both shooting on a 550D and the exact same kit. It kind of opened up peoples eyes into what was possible if you just put the time in. I love the Henri Cartier-Bresson quote about your first 10,000 images being your worst. Photography really is a long game - it doesn't come instantly. If you have the patience for it, you can do it. Every single time I pick up my camera for a shoot I learn something new and develop my skills further. 

So if you are just starting, stick to your basic kit for as long as you can. Don't become too focused on buying the latest and greatest camera and lenses. Just go and shoot. As much as you possibly can. Honestly, you can create amazing professional quality work with almost any camera at all. Light, composition and your ability to see the shot are far more important than megapixels and the number of autofocus points.  

Now sure, I'm not gonna pretend I'm not over the moon about having the D750. The dynamic range and low light of that thing is actual just plain crazy. It was time though - I had been pushing the 550D to it's absolute limits for a long time. When it's time to upgrade, you'll know it. 

(The cow photo below was taken at 11 or 12 at night. Yes, there is some noise in there but if you consider that I couldn't actually see the cow with my own two eyes it's pretty dang impressive)

D750 Low Light

Why you should learn photography with prime lenses.


One reoccurring thing I see is people getting into photography by buying a dslr and a twin lens kit. You might end up with something like a 18-55mm and a 55-250mm (I should know, I did the exact same thing). The problem I find with these lenses is that they are fine right up until a certain point. That point is when you are saying to yourself "I have the good camera, but why dont my shots look like the pros?".

Learning photography on zoom lenses is definitely not the ideal - In my eyes they promote a lazy approach to creating images. If you do hit that point where you feel like your photography is going nowhere with your kit lenses go and buy yourself a fast prime lens - such as the ultra cheap Canon 50mm 1.8. With a prime lens you have no zoom ability, instead you will be forced to zoom by walking closer or further away from your subject. This might seem like a bad thing compared with the ease of a zoom but trust me - it will improve your photography immensely. There is such a danger with zoom lenses to just stand in one spot and just zoom in and out to get your different frames. With prime lenses you will always be moving around - and because you are moving around you will spot other different and interesting compositions that you would have missed had you just been standing in one spot. 

Another great thing about prime lenses is that once you have used a certain focal length enough you can frame up a shot without even having to raise the camera to your eye. I have used the 50mm focal length so much that I know pretty dang well what will be in my shot and can already start to move if I know I'm going to be too close or too far away from my subject.

What this all adds up to is the camera and lens combo begins to feel second nature. Working with prime lenses encourages a way of thinking about photographs that is much more intuitive. Primes make you work to get the shot and having to work for it is exactly how you get better. There is no shortcut or magic camera combo that will make you a world class photographer. I know people with kits worth at least 7k who still haven't got their head around what makes a good shot. It's all practice and hard work.