About Me

My photo
I am 36, married for 12 years to Sarah & have 2 wonderful kids. Luke (11) & Amelia (5) I live in North Yorkshire, roughly half way between the Yorkshire Dales and the North York moors. I adore photography, weddings and portraits are my speciality but I also love fine art, landscape and architectural work. Away from photography I have 2 other jobs, I am an active memeber of my local (PTA) Parent teachers Association for my childrens school.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Looking back and foward!

Well, here we are with another week in front of us and another week just about finished...busy, busy, busy!
On a personal note, my children have made me really proud this week.  Both of them got really good school reports and Luke starred in his school play-it was a version of Mamma Mia called My Greek Wedding, i can't believe he can actually sing & dance, he's much better than his dad!  He's also leaving to go up to the Allertonshire Secondary school in September...God, i feel old! 
He's also going to Aerial Extreme on Monday then a disco on Thursday, Amelia's going to the same disco...they've a better social life than their parents LOL! 
Professionally speaking this is a busy week for me, i've got a wedding at Crathorne Hall on Friday with an amazing couple (Kirsty & John), which i can't wait for, it's a superb location with a multitude of photo opportunities!
A meet up with another client next Sunday to discuss their photos, portfolio to update, some nature/flower photos to be taken this week and perhaps a new website will be designed soon.
It's for these reasons that i won't be doing another tips & tricks update until i have finalised the website.

Thanks for reading and have a great week.



Monday, 4 July 2011



Hi everyone,

I'm sorry, i haven't been in touch for a couple of weeks but this is a busy time for me both personally & professionally!

I can't believe I started the business a year ago today. This has been a very steep learning curve, with some ups & downs on the way. I wouldn't change anything, although, I have made some mistakes...I will learn from them and will NOT BE MAKING them again!

I'll deal with the personal stuff first...12th wedding anniversary was on the 3rd of July so I spent the weekend with my wife (Sarah ((luv ya))- owner of Honeybee cards- handmade bespoke cards for all occasions - commissions welcomed!) pink champagne and smoked salmon topped the list. Thanks to my dad for the pink bubbly...Yummy! :)

The professional stuff now...I've been busy with weddings, photo editing etc. 
I've met a new contact Julie Kelly a wedding planner at White Rose Weddings.  I would highly recommend her!
Another quick meeting with Sue Simpson...It's never long enough! (Sues many talents cover the following Inspired by Script facebook page - North Yorkshire Weddings facebook page - Makers and Shakers to name but a few)  I would like to take this opportunity firstly, to recommend Sue to anyone and secondly, a massive thanks to Sue, her words of encouragement, motivation and simple, straight to the point advice has really helped me!
I'm booked on a 4 day trip to London in January for a camera convention...loads of training, advice, support to look forward to and perhaps treat myself to some new equipment!
I would just like to thanks the following people for their support and advice.  Darren and Lisa Atkinson, Kirsty & Andy Pollard, Heather & Al Lee, Gary & Tracy Short, Sarah, my dad Benny etc... if i go on any further it'll be like an Oscar winner!

As it's the first birthday of the business, I'm going to say goodbye to you all...I'll speak to you next weekend :)

My quote of the day is - People who succeed are not scared to fail (Lord Sugar)
My thought of the day is - What did we used to do when we only had 3 TV channels?...please leave any comments below

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Part 4 - Tips & Tricks at a photographers life

From last weeks focus based tips, i'm moving onto "Depth of Field" (DOF).  Everyone has seen photo's that are crystal clear.  From the foreground to the background.  You've also seen when the main subject is sharp and everything else is blurry

Depth of Field
This is 2 examples of the effect of Depth of Field (DOF).  The 1st example is a deep DOF and the 2nd a shallow DOF.
Digital cameras allow you to use this technique and maximise it to your advantage.

Some further examples are as follows:
  • Shallow DOF - this is most commonly used in portraiture by emphasising the subject.  Do this by either using a long focal length on your camera and/or a wide aperture F2.8 (See below for F-stop Jargon busting) You will get the effect of a sharp subject & blurry background.  You can also use the portrait mode on your camera if it has one.
  • Deep DOF - This is more flexible but a good example is landscapes. A wide-angle end of a zoom lens and an aperture of F8 will help ensure that the sharpness is carried on throughout the photo.  You can also use the landscape mode on your camera if it has one.
  • Close up (Macro) DOF - The depth of field here, maybe as, small as, 1mm or 2mmUse a smaller aperture to help deepen the field, if this is the effect you want.
Jargon Busting
  1.  Aperture - The circular opening inside a camera's lens that can change in diameter to control the amount of light reaching the camera's sensor.  These are quoted in F-Stops, the lower the number, the larger the aperture E.g. An aperture of F2.8 is larger than one of F8.  In other words the larger the aperture and shutter speed, the more light that hits the sensor.  Many camera's have an Aperture priority mode which allows experimentation.
  2. Depth of Field - The distance between the nearest and farthest points that appear in acceptably sharp focus in a photo.  Dependant on, lens, aperture, focal length & camera-to-subject distance.
  3. Focal length - The distance between the sensor (Or film on traditional cameras) and the optical centre of the lens when the lens is focused on infinity.  Focal lens is marked in millimeters on the lens (or mount) on those cameras able to do so.       

Business Corner
Don't forget to inform the tax office if you start self employment, they can assist you in a great deal of ways, they also run courses to help people filling out tax returns & keeping the correct documents.  Failure to do this may result in severe recriminations.

This weeks quote is "If you can dream, you can do it" - Walt Disney
                I'll be back next week with another installment, until then happy snapping!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

part 3 of tips & tricks at a Photographers life.

Well, the time has come around again for another installment in my tips & tricks newsletter.

Last week, it was about composition, this week i'm Focusing on Focus!
Nearly all digital camera's now have auto focus shown as a small square or cursor in the colour screen.  Many have multiple focus points, which ensure off centre subject also stay sharp.  But, how many times have you taken a picture of family & friends with a gap inbetween and the camera has focused on the wall behind?
If that has happened to you, read on to find out how to prevent such issues...
  1. Don't rush the shutter button - all digital cameras have a dual pressure shutter button.  Press this half way down, then wait, your camera will focus & confirm either by sound or a green LED will show in the display.  Once happy, then fully depress the button, which should result in a well focused shot.  Trying to do it quickly, in 1 big press will not allow time for the camera to set itself, risking a blurred image.
  2. If taking portraits, try to focus on the persons eyes.  Again, half press the shutter button and keep it half pressed, this allows you to recompose the shot, while still focusing on the eyes.  Complete the press to take the shot.
  3. Small groups - Try to recompose the shot, (while half pressing the shutter button) to reduce any gaps between people or focus, on one persons face, then recompose the shot.  This way you should ensure that the subjects are in focus and not the background.
  4. For Macro (Close up shots) and landscapes - a tripod or flat surface is Essential. 
Your local business link (different for each area of the country) are invaluable, in both their knowledge, resources and free training courses to ensure that you know as much as possible relating to your chosen area of business...Use them!  

Quote of the week is...Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero! (Seize the day, put no trust in tomorrow)

Get ready for next...same time(ish), same blog! 

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Part 2 of tips & tricks at a photographers life!


Camera tips & tricks...part 2

As discussed last week, my 2nd part of the series is upon us.  This deals with the really enjoyable part...taking the photo!

Everyone, can point & shoot, but to improve your photo's...Experiment!  The worst that can happen is you have to delete photo's that go wrong.

This is self explanatory but still experiment with both styles.

This will not apply to all situations however, it is common practice by professionals.
Imagine your LCD screen is split into a grid of 9 equal squares, 2 vertical lines & 2 horizontal lines (You can buy thin plastic covers for certain types of screens very cheaply or some cameras may provide this within the specifications)
If you position specific elements within a photo, where the lines intersect (Called "The Golden Means) the image can have more impact.  E.g. for landscape photos try the horizon in the top or bottom third.   When adding people try to place them at the intersect which will allow the background to be viewed in a landscape style photo.  
This is when the main subject of the photo is smack in the centre of the frame.  There should be a specific reason for doing this.  The image may be less pleasing to the eye.  Although, do not discount this composition, it can be effective when taking photos for selling on sites like EBAY and some symmetrical shots.
My main piece of advice is Experiment, all rules can be broken or bent or mixed to ensure that you'll learn quickly and achieve the required results! 


This relates to all business's not just photography...Market Research, Market research, Market Research!
Do your market research or even pay a company to do this for you!  Asking friends and family is not enough...There is a lot of information available via the internet such as, how many people live in a designated area, male or female etc...this will allow you to build a picture of your expected customers.
E.g. It would not be a good idea to set up a designer clothes shop in a town with an aging population and not much disposable income.

Well, thats it from me this week...part 3 to come next week!

Thanks for reading!!!

Quote of the week is..."Successful people always fail but are never scared to try again" - Anon

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Newsletter - 1st week!


This is the first of a weekly tips & tricks newsletter; initially focusing on basic photography techniques and advice.  In addition there will be some specialist wedding & portrait advice, business tips and some surprises!
Where to start?! 
There are countless books, magazines and adverts telling you the best camera, lens, flash…etc.
For example if you just want some family, friend and holiday snaps to either print, use for social media or EBay.  You don’t need a high end digital camera.  Expect to pay less than £200…see if your phone can be used!
If you want to develop your hobby further, I recommend investing in a high end Digital Camera paying about £400 these can exceed 12 million pixels and produce good quality large prints.
D-SLR (Digital – Single Lens reflex) these are for both serious enthusiasts and professionals.  They start from about £600 and can go into £000’s.    They offer a great deal of flexibility with regards to lenses and flashes.   They also include faster operating times (frames per second) and can be over 25 million pixels.

REMEMBER – Amazing images can be taken on any camera.  Iconic photos of the 20th century were not taken on modern cameras!

Jargon explained!
Pixel – The smallest element of a picture that can be processed.  More pixels=More detail.
Memory cards – Required for all digital cameras.  They store your photos until you upload or delete them.  Bigger cards=More storage.  Factor this into your budget.

A business plan is absolutely essential.  It also has to be reviewed and changed regularly to ensure it is still relevant!
Fun time – Anagram solver (these words are on this page)
Gala Triad Mice
Harp Pother Go
Spaniels Buns

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Return of the blog

Hi everyone,

As you can see i have a new logo designed by Claroset Graphics - Highly recommended!
It has been really busy behind the scenes here...a new car, computer, phone, sat nav, meeting clients, work, even my sons got his own laptop now!
I'm going to be adding weekly tips and tricks each Sunday - starting next weekend, if there is anything you want to ask, please feel free to post it here/facebook/twitter or even at www.mark-johnston-photography.co.uk

I have uploaded some new photos on my website & redesigned it.  Heres a sneek peek...go to the website to see more!
Let me know what you think!

Don't forget to have a look at HoneyBee Cards

Have a great week everyone - My inspirational quote is "Just do it!"