09.01.2018 – Fujifilm X100s
After reading copious amounts of articles on the subject and having my interest suitably piqued, I bit the bullet and splashed out on a Fujifilm X100S.
Having been exclusively shooting Canon for the last 6 years I was ready to try something new, and the Fuji X series seemed to have it all; amazing looks, small form factor, and fantastic picture quality. Indeed, one reviewer declared the X100s to be a camera with ‘soul’.
The Fuji X100s is the second iteration of the company’s much lauded X series of cameras that began back in 2010 with the X100s. This camera created a huge stir amongst professional photographers who were seeking a smaller, lighter unit to carry around, but which also gave pro quality images. The camera was not without its issues, most noticeably the painfully slow autofocus.
This was followed up in 2013 with the vastly improved X100S, which ironed out most of the issues of the original, and added a larger resolution of 16.3 megapixels, and a new XTrans CMOSII sensor. It kept the fantastic 23mm (35mm full frame equivalent) fixed prime lens.
After years of buying cameras simply as tools for the job required, this was the first camera in a long time that I’d actually desired as an object of pleasure. The question I had was, could a four year old camera still hold its own in 2017?
The weight of the machine, after using Canon DSLR’s exclusively for so long was a joy, this thing could fit in my pocket or a small bag. The X100s is equipped with a standard OVF, but also an EVF (electronic view finder) which I’d never experienced before. The EVF is fab, it allows you to see the exact exposure in camera so you can be sure that you’ve nailed the shot.
The first test was some portraits, could the X100s provide the fabled ‘soul’. I was very pleased, the fixed lens gives lovely clarity and detail:
The next test for me was out in the open, testing it for landscape / out door quality and again it didn’t disappoint. Whilst visiting relatives in Scotland I got the following shots which I loved, for me anyway there is a certain vibe which I’m not sure I would have got with my DSLR.
The following pictures were taken at the bottom of my road in Telscombe Cliffs:
All in all I do love this little gem of a camera, and can’t wait to get out to give it a proper road test. So much so that I’ve begun to consider selling my entire Canon system and swapping it out for Fuji! We’ll have to wait and see on that though…
05.07.2017 – Specsavers Staff Portraits
I have recently had the pleasure of being asked to shoot the staff portraits at Specsavers stores throughout Sussex & Kent.
The subjects at all of the stores were extremely welcoming and good natured, even though in some cases they were reluctant to have their pictures taken!
My brief was fairly simple; black and white portraits in front of a white backdrop, shots of the Optometrists in their rooms, and portraits of the directors in front of the glasses racks.
The reality was quite different though, the layout of the stores meaning that working conditions were very cramped, especially for the monochrome portraits. This led to tricky shadows being cast from the off-camera flash positioned beside me, and natural light wasn’t an option given the dimly lit rooms. This was overcome through trial and error and twisting myself into various contortions!
For these shoots I used my trusty Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 lens, on a Canon 6d body. Unfortunately the tightness of the rooms meant that I was unable to shoot with my preferrred Canon 85mm 1.8.
13.04.2017 – One of my pictures has been featured on Houzz:
10.02.2017 – 2017 Best of Houzz Award!
I have been awarded a 2017 Best of Houzz award:
The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honours are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2016. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognised with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2017” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals on Houzz.
“We’re so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including Neil Macaninch at Neil Mac Photo,” said Andrew Small, MD of Houzz UK and Ireland. “It is more important than ever for home design and construction professionals to hire professional photographers to make their work stand out, and tell a story about the kind of work they do to our community of homeowners, design enthusiasts and home building, home improvement and design professionals.”
Top 10 tips for photographing your own home
Many people nowadays prefer to market their properties themselves, cutting out estate agents and using the internet to sell or rent their homes.
One of the most important things to do is get your presentation right. If you have a good set of pictures your home will immediately stand out from the crowd.
1. Use a decent camera. It sounds obvious, but the number of people putting up listings with pictures taken on a mobile phone is shocking. The camera doesn’t have to cost the earth, a basic dslr. Most of us have a friend with a DSLR if you don’t want to pay for a new camera.
A Canon 1200d, would be able to do a job for approx £200.
2. Use a tripod! In order to get the sharpest pictures possible, a tripod is essential. Taking pictures indoors often requires a slower shutter speed, resulting in motion blur making your pictures less attractive.
3. Use a wide angle lens. Many apartments are small in size, making a wide angle lens a must have. Don’t go too wide as you’ll experience barrel distortion. A good reasonably priced option is the
sigma 10-22mm which I have used many times myself.
4. Tidy up! It goes without saying that no one wants to see pictures of a messy apartment. The less cluttered the room the better the pictures will look. Remove anything that detracts from the space; clothes, crockery, CD’s etc.
5. Use off camera lighting. This is getting a bit technical now but the use of off camera lighting will make a huge amount of difference. A flash gun bounced off of a wall into the room will help to light the room while exposing for windows (see number 6). The camera can be connected with the flash either via
a cable, or
a wireless trigger
6. Expose for windows. Following on from number 5, lighting a room whilst keeping the detail in the windows is quite a tricky business. A basic way of doing this is to expose for the windows, although this will darken the rest of the room. Position your flash gun appropriately to light the rest of the room (don’t position it in front of the window). The flash lights the room but keeps the detail in the window!
7. Use post processing software. Nowadays, software packages such as Lightoom and Photoshop are relatively inexpensive. You can use them to sharpen, brighten the pictures and do basic corrections.
8. Let the sunshine in! Open the curtains & blinds and let all that natural light flood in.
9. Watch out for reflective surfaces. One of the biggest crimes for a property photographer is to be featured in their own pictures, either in a mirror or window. If shooting a room with lots of mirrors, try to position yourself so that you are not reflected in any of them.
10. Call a pro! If you’ve read all of the options above and still don’t feel confident, call a professional photographer and negotiate a price. On average prices will range from £75 for a 1 bed flat, to £100+ for a larger house. If you need some pictures to market your property drop me a line at
Neil Mac Photo firstname.lastname@example.org for a friendly, no-obligation quote.
24.09.2015 – Historic Rye
One of my favorite places to visit as a property photographer is Rye in East Sussex, my client there being Phillips & Stubbs estate agents
I know that when I venture out to Rye on a job the property is going to be an interesting one, the town of Rye and it’s surrounds have a rich history, with many old & listed properties to explore.
One house I photographed was featured in the TV series Mapp and Lucia, The Old Vicarage (known as Wasters in the story). Wasters is the home of Godiva (Diva) Plaistow and rented to Mapp whilst her house is in turn let to Lucia. http://mappandluciarye.uk/wasters-bbc-series/
The house was a former B&B, but is now a private residence and has recently gone on sale.
Another fascinating house is the 14th century built Thomas House, a famous listed building right in the heart of Rye old town, reputed to be the oldest house in Rye.
The house is situated in Rye’s West Street, which is right in the middle of Conservation Area of the Ancient Town and Cinque Port of Rye.
Photographing houses such as Thomas House are a real challenge, especially when using off camera flashes. The low ceilings and wooden beams cause big shadows that are difficult to work around, and a lot of time is spent carefully positioning the flashes to avoid this.
17.09.2015 – Adroll Event at The Hospital Club
Last week saw me up bright and early to photograph the Adroll Media Launch at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden.
Adroll is a company that specialises in Online Retargeting and Performance Marketing https://www.adroll.com/en-GB/
Clients and partners of Adroll were invited to the launch which saw them treated to breakfast in the club before a series of talks took place.
First up was David Rowan, a well respected technology writer who has written for the Guardian and other quality publications, and currently writes a blog on WiredUK http://www.wired.co.uk/david-rowan’s-blog.
. David talked about the power of the internet for marketing, especially the way in which we interact with our mobile phones and tablets.
There were further talks from Adroll executives Adam Berke and Michael Bertaut, discussing the evolution of programmatic data and advertising technology, and how Adroll works in the current technology environment.
Finally all 3 speakers held a q&a session fielding questions from the audience.
There was just time after that for some group photos, and for one lucky audience member to win an Apple watch.
I used a Canon 6d and a Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 lens for this job. Using flash wasn’t appropriate here, so the high ISO capabilities of the 6d were absolutely essential.
19.08.2015 – Luke & Tara’s Wedding
I was honored to be asked to shoot the wedding of Luke & Tara recently in Orsett, Essex, nr. Grays.
The weather was beautiful – one of the hottest days of the year, although this made carrying a heavy camera set up a thirsty business, especially as all of the group shots were taken out doors in the blazing sun.
The happy couple and their guests weren’t phased by the heat though, and were determined to enjoy themselves long into the night.
All the best to the newly weds!
06.08.2015 – Lago Maggiore
I recently had the pleasure of photographing a 3 day event for Baringa at the beautiful Lago Maggiore in Italy.
The delegates arrived and after a quick lunch were plunged straight into the day’s activities. These included Dragon Boat racing, off road cycling, inflatables in the sea and beach relays. Unfortunately the skies decided to open just as the activities started meaning that the crew had a very soggy start to their trip.
The trip continued the following morning with massages on the beach, Charleston dancing, Tai Chi, and kick boxing to clear away any hangovers from the previous night’s dinner & drinks.
The highlight of the weekend came with a 1920’s themed dinner on a stunning island off the lake’s coast called Isola Bella. The events company (Pure Events) had done an incredible job of creating a beautiful setting for the delegates to dine, drink and dance the night away.