Taking Better Photos



Whilst I have been trying to save the world in the past few months Mr B has been holding down a stressful job with a four hour daily commute and, in his words, “keeping the home fires burning” whilst I have been away.   No mean feat and so to say thank you I dragged him off to Birmingham last weekend to the Photography Show.   Photography is something Mr B has always been interested in.  Not just the end result but the camera itself.  He knows about cameras, lenses, tripods, gadgets and gizmos and all the tech stuff that I can’t begin to understand.   I grew up in a house where for a while my dad had a dark room but I still can’t begin to understand the science behind great photos.   So when I heard about the Photography Show I decided I would organise for Mr B and I to go, and for us to stay in a hotel the night before and it for a be a weekend about Mr B for a change.

Dont get me wrong when I say I dont understand the science behind great pictures,  I do get serious photography envy when I look at other people’s blogs.    Yes I am talking to you Annie Spratt.   I want to be able to take great photos.  I just don’t know if my brain is clever enough to understand it all.   I know for certain that my bank account is not deep enough to buy everything I hear about.   But taking better photos  is my new thing.   Maybe I can be a food blogger if I can make the food look good, even if it tastes like vomit.  Or maybe not.  Let’s not count our chickens yet, hey?

But I really want to learn about taking pictures.  About lighting and about angles.   I am quite good with composition, I know about leading lines and the rule of thirds etc, but what I don’t know is about angles.   Nor styling.  So much of the photography I love is not just the item centre stage but what is going around it.   The slice of blueberry tart that has blueberries in the background.  The plate it is sitting on.   The shadow.  The crumbs from the where the slice was removed.   I want to learn how to do that.   And not just plonk the slice of tart on a plate and take a snap.

I want to know stuff.

And whilst I am doing that Mr B wants to play with £3,000 Zeiss lenses.  So this show sounded like the ideal destination for a day out.

Look I even have a photography board on Pinterest (which is my other new favourite thing.  How have I only just discovered Pinterest?!)

Follow MummyBarrow’s board P is for Photography on Pinterest.

The Photography Show was fab.   It was brilliantly laid out, with lots of space around stands and with plenty of opportunities to take photos of “staged events”.    But the best bit?  All the exhibitors we spoke to were warm and friendly and not one of them turned their noses up at the fact I didn’t have the latest camera.   That Mr B didn’t have a £2500 lens when he was looking at the £3500 version.  That the people at Zeiss were happy for him to try the lens on his Canon camera body.   That Canon themselves were also happy for him to try top end cameras and lenses and would have happily chatted for hours about the different set ups for low light indoor scenarios, or outdoor landscape photography.   There was no feeling that you weren’t worthy of attention in favour of the person standing behind you.   And believe me, at the Canon stand it was three deep with people trying to get their hands on all the kit


The serious kit meant nothing to me because I don’t understand it but I did come away with the LED light I have had my eye on for months, and a white photography tent.   I chatted to a couple of people about lights and fell in love with the Rotolight that was twice the price of the others I had been looking at, but what the heck, it was exactly what I wanted.

I also came away with a reignited enthusiasm for my Nikon camera that Mr B bought me as a wedding present.    It has been well and truly superceded by Nikon now but it is a seriously good camera with two amazing lenses and I have left it languishing in a bag in favour of the Samsung NX1000 I won a couple of years ago.  Or my phone.   I have over 3000 photos on my phone which is just a bit insane.  And needs to stop, I really need to start using a camera.

Mr B came away with a real desire to get out and use the kit he has more.  To study the pictures he has taken in order to improve the skills he already has.   He really wants those bigger bits of kit but can’t quite justify the expense at the moment.

Thanks to this weekend I also know now that it really is still life that I want to photograph.  It really isn’t landscapes or portraits that float my boat, but stuff that sits still.  Mostly on plates.   Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to get out and about with my camera to take pictures and try to improve on my skills but putting a cake on a plate and moving crumbs around is what I really want to do.  And use this little bit of the web to show them off (who am I kidding?!)


And possibly not because it is not just an excuse to play with cake.

If you get a chance to go to the Photography Show next year, you really should.   It is well worth it for a great day out, whether you are a complete beginner like me, or a serious amateur like Mr B.    There were lots of seminars and talks that we planned on going to pick up lots of tips but when it came down to it we decided to just wander and play with the kit instead.    But with the help of their app that you can download before hand you can plan your day to really make the most of the ticket price.  We will definitely do it again next year and go to all the seminars and talks, the speakers they had this year sounded fab so I can only imagine that next year they will be too.

 So look out for more photos over the coming months and please, do give me your photography tips!!

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  • I am on a mission to take better photos too! I do feel like I’ve improved over the last two years and it has helped using Instagram as I feel this has trained me a bit!
    So cool that you are on Pinterest now, I’m going to have a mosey over and follow you. Great that you have found what you like to photo- cake pictures and food in general are always nice to look at!!!

    • Thanks Nadine. You are right about Instagram, that is has taught me a lot!! And do come say hello on Pinterest. I am only just really getting into it but loving it so far.

  • My Mum was there too, and I know she will have come away with lots of gadgets! I have to say, that if that top photograph is anything to go by, I don’t know why your worried about your photography skills, they are great! Keep doing what you are doing, take your camera off manual, don’t be scared of taking it everywhere with you and you will be eating up memory cards full of fantastic shots in no time! 🙂 Emma x PS. a book I always recommend for food photography is Plate to Pixel by Helen Dujardin, has great lighting tips and everything!

  • Ohhhh I have just bought a little tent thing too! I am useless at pictures, they tend to be just selfies or badly angled over head shots. I really need to start being more Spratt like as I look at her blog and my ooos and ahhhhs turn into huffs and puffs. I also need to fix my pinterest as I am useless at Pinterest too.

    Just a note: Bruce has a HUGE one in his hands there, I like it.

  • I am loving photography more and more so really jealous on Mr B and that lense I must say. I am interested in both portraits and culinary photography so would’ve loved to go to that show!

  • I’d love to take better photos. I’d like to capture my kids doing stuff, those are the photo’s I’m envious of on other peoples blogs.

  • Ooo I need to check out your tent (not a euphemism). I’ve been looking out for some good lights – bummed out that I couldnt get along this weekend to join you. I look forward to Barrows adventures with the tent!

  • sounds fab, and what a lovely idea to spoil Mr B, what would we do without them. I loved Susannah Conways photo meditations course, got me thinking about so much without getting really technical, it’s online which is fab. Also did a day taking pics of architecture with joe blogs network and that helped me technically, although I will never retain the science bit, nor do I seem to care 😉 go you! Love you have so much vision and energy for new projects xxx

  • I’m with you with wanting to take better photos! What do you think of the tent you bought, I have one that I can’t get away with at all but I just bought it on eBay so I may have a cheap version!

  • Oh no – don’t go telling me my pics on my iPhone aren’t good enough? I secretly know it – but I’m in denial xx