Hello everyone.

We hope that all who participated in the Buddy Night last week came away with some helpful tips and perhaps a greater insight into either what you can capture in camera and/or create in post production.

With the variety of skills and knowledge on offer plus the specific advice that some members had already said they would like to hear and see, the night was one full of interaction.

Overall, we had good attendance and from my position – being literally with my back to the audience for the majority of the evening – it did look like all the tables attracted attention. It is always fascinating to see the reaction of a photographer who suddenly realises what their camera is capable of, with just one more click of the dial or by digging deeper into the settings.

In the same manner, there are those who are concerned about using the software to create or improve the photos they have taken. From those who came to Philip and my table and the others that I spoke to on the night, I came away feeling positive that we will see a lot more members push their creative boundaries and get to grips with the camera manual or play with the software.

In the case of all post production programmes, from Picasa to Photoshop, there is one piece of advice I urge all to bear in mind. All these are there for you to use by telling them what you want, not the other way round. You can sit in front of the screen of your computer and make changes to your photo. If you do not like what you see, stop and cancel it or carry on till you do like the outcome. It is up to you to get the result you are aiming for and in the vast majority of times, you will and it will be a good feeling!

With the camera as well, play with the aperture and shutter speeds. Experiment to see what effects you can create – it will be more fun outdoors working with the camera than in front of the computer most of the time.

One last thing from me. I did hear some on the night express concerns about shooting in raw and then being unsure of what software to use to open the photos on their memory cards. Of course, most cameras will come with a CD that has that manufacturer’s own programme to use. I use one called Faststone – http://www.faststone.org – and for me it offers a clean and simple way to have the first view of all the photos one may have taken, both raw and jpeg. There are some easy, quickfix editing tools as well but in the main, it is perfect for that first look, rather than having to wait for Lightroom, Photoshop, etc. to load and then sort through.

So many thanks to all for making it an enjoyable, entertaining and I hope useful evening. Special thanks to Brian, Philip, Brenda, Dave, Mandy, Qasim, David P, Martin and Graham for their help.

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