SleekLens Review – Landscape Adventure Collection

The people over at SleekLens were kind enough to gift me the Landscape Adventure Collection in exchange for an honest review on my blog, so here we go.

The actions are available in two formats – Lightroom and Photoshop Actions. This review will be about the Photoshop Actions, although I can imagine that a lot of things may apply to both. Using photoshop actions in this way is not really something I have used in this way before. My usual workflow of editing images works mostly in Adobe Camera Raw with a bit of Adobe Photoshop to bring some magic – so this was something a bit different.

In this review, I dug up some old photos I took at Center Parcs earlier in 2017, and also a photo from a bluebell wood that’s right next to my nan’s house.

Installing SleekLens

SleekLens installs super easily – it’s a set of actions. You can double click on the actions file that you download, and it all automatically imports into Photoshop and BAM it’s all there and it’s ready to go.

In order to put SleekLens through it’s paces, I did not edit the photos in Camera RAW beforehand, so the images I’ve tested this on are straight out of camera – a bit underexposed as that is how I shoot – and a little flat.

What You Get

Here you can see the actions that are included with the SleekLens Adventure Landscape Collection.

Sleeklens review - landscape adventure collection

Using the Actions

The actions are very easy to use – from the menu you just select what you would like to apply to the image. I would suggest that after each action is applied to your liking, you flatten the document before applying any more. On some of the actions you apply a layer mask to control where it is applied which is very VERY useful. As the actions are applied to a separate layer, you can also adjust the opacity each time to get the desired effect. They are easy to use and control.

Before and Afters

The first action which I would like to give a high opinion of in the ‘Clarity’ tool. As you can see with the image below, when you are dealing with highlights and shadows that are quite different, Clarity is a very quick and easy way of recovering some lost details.

Sleeklens review before and after landscape iping

BASE Clarity + TONE Colour Pop

SleekLens review before and after landscape sunset

BASE Clarity + BASE Morning Light + SPECIALITY Sunset Flare + TONE Sunset Colours + TONE Colour Pop + ENHANCE Sunset

With these actions I found myself wanting to turn everything into a beautiful sunset as they did a really brilliant job of enhancing that kind of thing. In the above image, it was shot as the sun was going down but you can’t really tell in the original apart from the direction of light through the trees. After playing around with some of the actions I think it looks so magical! The SPECIALITY Sunset Flare and ENHANCE Sunset (used sparingly) really do make a sunset pop.

sleeklens review before and after landscape

BASE Clarity + BASE Morning Light + TONE Sunset Colours + ALLINONE Subtle Sunset + ENHANCE Sunset

SleekLens review before and after landscape

BASE Clarity + BASE Morning Light + TONE Colour Pop

Overall, I would say that this set of actions are pretty great. If you are taking a lot of scenery shots they make your workflow much quicker and to a high quality. I think they would be good for a blogger or someone who travels a lots and takes a lot of photos that need just a little bit of enhancing.

However, if you are someone who likes to control each part of an image and add different filters and layer masks – this is probably not for you. The effects you get with the actions is very good, but if you are experienced with Adobe Photoshop, there are obviously other ways to do it.

Pros

  • Good quality actions
  • Speeds up editing and workflow for landscapes
  • Great for adding details to landscape photos easily
  • Good for people who don’t know photoshop too well but like editing photos

Cons

  • Lack of control if you like to fine tune the minute details (but then you probably wouldn’t use an action in the first place)

Will I use them?

For Landscape photos like sunsets or something that needs a something extra, I think I have been converted. It’s a useful bit of software to own. I would love to try out their portrait collections too.

I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to try out the Landscape Adventure Collection actions from SleekLens – it’s always good to try something new and it’s given me a few tricks to use on future photos.

I hope you’re having a great day,

Jas xo

5 Ways to Take Stunning Photos of Your Family… With Your iPhone!

Have you ever wondered how to photograph your family with just you iPhone? Wonder no more. One thing that I remember from studying photography at university is the phrase ‘the best camera is the one you have one with you’ and that is so unbelievably true. Nowadays everyone has a camera on them most of the time and it’s probably either what you’re reading this on or in your pocket – your handy dandy smart phone.

The cameras on smart phones are not going to give you professional results, but as with the statement above, they are a tool to capture what’s there in the moment, and sometimes that’s all that matters. (Although, if you’re after that – you can click here)

1. Get The Right Light

Light it SO important in making an image look and feel as magical as the moment. Taking photos in low light (eg. living room in the evening) will probably result in grainy and possibly blurry photos. The details of the photo may be lost, but by doing a few things differently you can make a dramatic difference.

TIP: Take photos in front of a window, so that the window light lights your subject’s face. I use this technique in a tonne of my photos because natural light filtered through a window is one of my absolute favourite kinds. It’s soft and flattering, while being illuminating and easy to access. Harsh sunlight when you’re outdoors will cause weird shadows and highlights (also the awkward eye squint) – to avoid this take photos in the shade.

2. Get The Right Reaction

Candid photography is my favourite, but there’s absolutely no harm in setting up a little planned shot too.

TIP: While your photographing your subject, tell them a silly joke or tell them about an exciting event coming up that they didn’t know about. You will get natural and happy reactions that look genuine.

3. Don’t Force It

If your family are not feeling it that day, don’t force them to stand there and be photographed if they don’t want to. Photography should be something that they get excited about as much as you, you don’t want them to close down as soon as your get the camera out in the future. If they’re not up for it that day it may be best to do it tomorrow instead – unless the moody child photos are the ones you love (personally I think this are just as treasurable too, but play it by ear).

TIP: Pick a day and time when everything is relaxed, make the photos fun. You could always set up some baking or a game – something physical that’s not an iPad or similar – to try and get better reactions.

4. Imperfect is Perfect

At the end of the day, what matters is that you have these moments. Even the ones that are blurry, having a bit of a tantrum or asleep on the couch are going to be something you can look back on with pride in the future – it won’t matter to you then if it’s a bit grainy. As I said at the start, the best camera is the one you have on you and that’s all that really matters.

TIP: Don’t delete photos because they’re not perfect, and don’t shy away from them. Keep them – when you look back on them in a few years time, you’ll love them like all the rest.

5. To Filter or Not To Filter

Let’s face it – we all love an Instagram filter. Sometimes they look great, and sometimes not so much. My advice here would be to use the filters if you want to, but make sure you have unfiltered photos backed up for the future. It’s a bit like an tattoo you regret – they can look really dated really quickly and in 5 years time we’re going to look back at all our over filtered pictures and think ‘what on earth where we thinking?’. There are some apps that can give a more natural or film-like filter such as VSCO, or of course good old Adobe Photoshop for those who use it.

TIP: Keep un-filtered photos!

NOTE: When a photographer edits their photos they will put a LOT of time and effort into making an image look a certain way – this will correspond to their personal style which is what you are paying them for. Remember it is not okay to put an Instagram filter on photos from a professional, and they will very rarely give you the unedited files because it will go against their brand image – this is totally normal and completely different than using Instagram filters. 

Go and create!

If you use this to take photos of your family PLEASE do show me, I would absolutely love to see. You can always tag me on Instagram, leave a comment on this post or send me a message.

Need a professional?

Check out my family photography gallery and let’s set up a shoot!

I hope you have found this advice useful!

I’ll be back soon,

Jas

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Big Life Changes – Going Freelance + Autumn Photos

Hello everyone! I thought I would write a little blog post to highlight some changes that have been going on around here recently and to let you know a bit about where I am at. It’s also a chance for me to share some photos from my personal life too, so grab a biscuit and let’s settle down.

The first big thing to change is that I am no longer working full time as a designer, and instead I am going to be working freelance. A lot of things influenced this decision (health, money etc.) and it definitely happened a lot sooner than I or anyone had really expected it to. It’s been a little over a week now, and I’m actually settling into it really well – I’m trying not to think about paying for Christmas or next month’s bills, but hey, it’ll come.

autumn woods in surrey waggoners wells

Waggoner’s Wells, Grayshot

Because I’m now free… well, pretty much every day, I have been able to focus so much more on making my website and blog how I want it to be. I’m generally a really self motivated person anyway, so getting to work on something I love so much all the time has been lovely so far.

That being said – I do need to ask for your help. It would be really useful to me if you can help by sharing my website and facebook posts for your friends and followers to see as I’m just getting started and need a bit of an exposure boost. Even just clicking ‘like’ on a facebook post can help me get in front of more people and I would be so, so grateful.

autumn woods and pond with dusks in surrey wagonners wells

Waggoner’s Wells, Grayshot

Family photography is going to be really central in my work in the future, and for December and January I have an offer where the session fee for photos is at a 25% discount at just £150. Family photos around Christmas time are not only popular but incredibly precious and become really treasurable keepsakes. This time of the year is so much about showing love for your family so why not get some pictures of that too? Sessions can be bought for yourself or as a gift for friends and family in the future. If you or anyone is interested, please do check out my family portfolio and get in touch.

Of course I am also available for other kinds of photography too so definitely do get in touch and we can discuss things in more detail.

This here blog is going to be a bit of a mixed old bag. I’ve thought about making a separate blog for more personal or lifestyle type posts, but I’ve decided to keep it all here, where it can be seen in one place. There are options to filter the kinds of posts you see, so if you’re only here for one specific type of thing, that’s cool too. So there may be bits here about lifestyle, health, and entertainment too – all my favourite things.

autumn leaves from below orange red

Leaves in Farnham Park

There are loads of different ways you can stay up to date with what I’m doing, and I really do encourage you to come on this journey with me. The main places are Bloglovin’, Facebook and Instagram. I’m hoping to start a youtube channel too this week (wish me luck!) which will be more for my fine art and conceptual photography so if you’re interested in how I do that do follow me on one or more of the links above and it’ll get to you in one way or another.

liver and white spaniel

Freddie

So now I ask the question – what do you want to see? Is there anything about photography that has always intrigued you and you want to know more about? Are you wanting to get more skilled at photography yourself? Is there something that you would like me to review? Please, please, do let me know. I want to create this content for this blog, but without readers it would be nothing. And that reader is YOU. So, hi!

liver and white spaniel dog at home

Freddie

So there we have it. I think I’ve just about covered everything I’ve got to say at the moment. I hope you’ve enjoyed these pictures too – I can’t wait to show you more of the photos I take of my life day to day.

I will leave you with a couple of images from the Weald and Downland Living Museum Christmas Fair 2017 which I went to today – Christmas fairs – ugh, is there anything more festive? I love them.

I’ll be back very soon but for now keep warm and have a great day.

Jas xo

donkey dressed for christmas in a stable at goodwood

Weald and Downland Living Museum – Christmas Fair 2017

christmas baking at a fair tarts cake stand

Weald and Downland Living Museum – Christmas Fair 2017

young girl watching magician

Weald and Downland Living Museum – Christmas Fair 2017

Weald and Downland Living Museum - Christmas Fair 2017

Weald and Downland Living Museum – Christmas Fair 2017

Weald and Downland Living Museum - Christmas Fair 2017

Weald and Downland Living Museum – Christmas Fair 2017

Leo in the Garden – Sunny Family Photography in Farnham, Surrey

Back in the summer I had the pleasure of photographing Leo and his family in his back garden in Farnham, Surrey. The sun was so bright that day so we used it to our advantage to get beautiful lighting and sun flares.

Having family photos taken at home make the photos so much more unique to you and really gives you some beautiful memories of you in your own space. The children (and adults) are also so much more relaxed  and that really shines through in the photos.

For this photos we started off by going for a short walk around Waverley – seeing the abbey, splashing in some puddles. This allowed me to get to know Leo and his family a bit more before we settled down for the photos at home. As the sun was just so gorgeous, we decided to set up a blanket in the garden and let Leo have lots of fun – there where bricks, bubbles, food and Leo was enjoying all of it.

If you are interested in some family photos for yourself, please do feel free to contact me here and we can discuss wha it is you are after. There’s currently a Black Friday offer running over on my Facebook, so if you’re reading this in time, it might be worth going to check that out too.

Thank you all for your wonderful and continued support on my Families Instagram, Facebook and this here blog. It really does mean a lot that you would help me out by sharing and commenting on these posts.

But for now I will leave you with the gallery of Leo’s photos:

Farnham Family Photography in the Garden

father and toddler son family photography farnham

father kisses toddler sun in family photography farnham

mother father and toddler fun ruins farnham

toddler playing in bubbles in garden farnham surrey

toddler playing with blocks in sunshine farnham

mother father toddler family photography farnham at home

farnham family photography outside of toddler

Please get in touch if you are interested in working with me, I’d love to hear from you.

Jas Poole x

Chester & Archer at the Devil’s Punch Bowl, Hindhead

Chester and Archer love blueberries, so they are a staple to bring on a photo session. This month with The Oulton’s we decided to explore the Devil’s Punch Bowl in Hindhead for their family photos. It gave the boys a chance to get out in nature and made a beautiful backdrop to remember the gorgeous changing of the seasons. The trees where just turning a golden orange, and the place was buzzing with the beginning of half term. This time we where joined by a few other family members who came along for the ride too.

Sweet families having fun in little bobble hats surrounded by autumn trees is definitely near the top of my favourite location list for photographing families. Autumn light is just so pretty.

There is still so much of the Devil’s Punch Bowl that I haven’t seen, this was just a really tiny area of what is a beautiful location. Sometime soon I’ll try and persuade my other half to join me for a long walk there to explore a little bit more. If you’ve got any recommendations for where to walk, then please do let me know and then we can get the wheels in motion.

If you’re interested in a family photo session for yourself, please definitely get in touch.

two boys in a tree in autumn
chester archer oct 2017 050
two boys at hogs back in autumn
two boys at hogs back hindhead
chester archer oct 2017 029

Taylor, an Autumn Photo Session at Farnham Park

Ahhhh autumn is definitely here and that makes for such wonderful photos. Just walking home from work the light feels like autumn, the trees are red, pumpkins are starting to pop up all over the place and there’s a certain chill in the air that says Halloween is on it’s way.

Last weekend I met up with young Taylor and her parents at Farnham Park in Surrey to try and create some images that could turn into good juicy book covers. There was no brief, just ‘make sure Taylor has a good time too and get some gooduns’.

young girl playing at farnham park

young girl playing on ropes at Farnham Park

child kicking autumn leaves at farnham park

young girl walking in autumn at farnham park

young girl at playground in farnham park

During our shoot, me and Taylor went off and did our own thing. We talked about how to eat Oreos, spiders, and played a game of hide and seek that ultimately resulted in the photo of Taylor in the tunnel.

When photographing children it is SO important that they are happy and having fun if you want them to be co-operative in any way – this is one of the main things I have learned doing family photography. It’s a balance between letting them be in control and having a play and getting the shots you want and need.

I’m thinking about writing an e-book about everything I have learned from photographing families and children. If anyone is interested, please do leave a comment and let me know and I’ll get on it.

What’s your favourite thing about autumn?

Jas

The Camera Setting for Gorgeous Photos

You should always change your camera setting based on the effect you are trying to achieve in the environment you are in. Whether that be manual or auto, it’s best to be in control of your camera – don’t let it control you. I thought I would share my own favourite this here photography blog and share the technical camera love.

But what camera setting do I use?

I have been shooting on the same camera setting for probably the last five years or so. Obviously there are situations when it needs to be changed to fit the environment and desired result, but I would say 95% of the time my camera is set to – AV.

The AV setting means it’s set to ‘Aperture Priority’. The aperture of the camera controls the size of the opening that light hits your camera sensor and in turn will change how much of your image is in focus. Those images that have a shallow focus where the background is blurred and the subject is in focus? That’s a large, shallow aperture. There’s a pretty good explanation here if you’re interested in finding out more.

I love this look. It just speaks to me.

jas poole photography blog family camera setting

What AV does is allows you to manually set the aperture or ‘f stop’, and then the camera will work out the shutter speed that will create the correct exposure. You can either set your ISO to auto to make the whole thing work automagically (watch out for surprise grain) or set a manual ISO too.

I mostly shoot wide open (oo-er) so my f stop is usually set to it’s widest – in my case f1.4. It wouldn’t matter too much if the lighting conditions changed in between shots, because the camera works out the rest of the settings. It’s particularly good for photographing on your toes at an event or something similar, when you never know when a good shot will present itself.

On the other hand, if I want to make sure that everything is in focus, and I want to use f11 for example, it’s easy to just change that one setting.

jas poole photography blog family camera setting

alternatively

If you prefer to focus on your shutter speed above all else, there is also the setting TV. This works the same as AV but with the main setting being the shutter speed. This can be good if you are photographing something that’s moving a lot – such as animals, water, people jumping etc. and want to use a really fast shutter.

jas poole photography blog family camera setting

As a photography blog, it’s all about sharing and connecting. So if there are any posts you would like to see here, please do leave me a comment let me know. I have a few more posts recently, why not give them a read?

Jas x