Photographers’ Rights to be Lost

The Digital Economy Bill is expected to become law within 6 weeks. This Bill, sponsored by Lord Mandelson, an unelected Minister, will have a fundamental affect on your freedoms as a photographer.

A) Your automatic right to copyright of your own photographs will no longer exist.

Take a look at the Bill NOW. The freedom-snatching detail hidden in this Bill has been sneaked in by the ever-devious Mandelson.

Another branch of the UK Government, The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is also proposing swinging restrictions on your freedom to take photographs in public places

B) You will no longer be free to photograph in public places

Write to your MP and object while there is still time left.

For more information go to these websites. It is not too late to object but you MUST ACT NOW!

I have looked more closely at the details of these proposals in my latest post here:

Photographers to lose copyright & right to photograph in public places

Copyright Action & Consensual Photography in Public

Royal Photographic Society’s view

Digital Economy Bill

Photographing fine British lunacy

Take a careful look at this photograph. You are looking at the sort of behaviour that put the Great in Britain. Yes, you’ve got it – a fine example of British lunacy. The sort of harmless fun we were once able to enjoy before the dead hand of European edicts, Health and Safety regulators and other interfering busy-bodies put the mockers on every bit of character the British once possessed.

I was commissioned by The Independent to photograph this story. It is real. A true story. It happened in 1987 in Wolverhampton in a pub called The Quarter House.
firing a cannon in public house
The man making the bang in the public bar ran a small workshop nearby producing replica cannons. No, not Canons as in Canon cameras – the sort of cannons used to start yacht races. However, as each one of these cannons had to be tested before delivery, his neighbours complained about the noise.
Undeterred, the businessman asked the landlord of the pub if he might fire the cannons in the bar.
And so started a tradition at 6 o’clock each evening.
The locals would simple stick their fingers in their ears while our friend banged off a couple of blank shots in the corner. No risk assessments. No hard hats or steel-capped boots. No ear defenders or eye goggles. No one got stressed, there was no counselling offered. No one minded and no one was hurt. Mind you, the pub wallpaper might have suffered a bit.
Technically the picture was simple enough to capture. Two flash guns were used – one slightly behind the main subject over on the left (there’s a bit of flare from that) and the other slightly to the right.
Then it was just a matter of timing – this was actually easier than it sounds because when that cannon let rip I jumped and pressed the button… easy!
The picture was taken with a Nikon F3 using a 24mm Nikon lens and Neopan 400 film was used.
High quality art prints of this unique image are available for sale on the Philip Dunn Art Print Gallery
Bring back lunacy – let’s start living again!!

Should this photograph be cropped?

It’s always good to hear from photographers who have been on my a Photography Courses and Photography Holidays. I think of it as keeping in touch with friends – and so it is. Elaine Ellen came on a Photography Weekend Workshop recently and yesterday Elaine sent me a photograph, of which she is rightly proud.

starling photograph by photography student Elaine EllenElaine asked: “What do you think of this one? The first couple I took came out white – then I remembered I hadn’t adjusted the aperture!  Fortunately the starling hung around”.
Well, I’m delighted it did, Elaine, and that it posed so perfectly. The picture is excellent. Beautifully captured and perfectly exposed (top photograph).
But I’m having a problem with the composition of this picture. Sometime I look at it and think the railing on the left adds an extra dimension to the picture. Next time I look I think it would be best cropped off (lower photograph).
On balance I think it is best cropped. That way all the attention is concentrated on the bird itself and the colours of its plumage. Perhaps if there was a tad more of the railing on the left of the image it might be best to leave it on.
Generally I’m not a fan of having just two prominent elements in an image. Yes, I know there are many exceptions, but mostly it divides the viewer’s attention and lessens the picture’s impact.
I’ll leave it for you to decide.
Mind you, that lovely curly railing really is attractive!!
Thanks for sending this lovely picture Elaine… and keep using that Manual Exposure Mode (the Magic ‘M’). It will soon be second nature.

cropped photograph of starling

Elaine took this photograph with her Canon 40D

Shutter speed 1/400sec

Aperture f11

ISO 400

Photoactive Camera Shop with Amazon

2010 Hasselblad Masters Awards competition opens

Hasselblad have announced they are now accepting submissions for the 2010 Hasselblad Masters Awards competition.

Each year Hasselblad awards the title of Master Photographer in a range of specially defined categories – and for the first time ‘wildlife’ is to be added to this list.

Awards are granted in recognition of the photographer’s contribution to the art of photography and photographic ability in the areas of creativity, composition, conceptual strength, and technical skill.

Photographers are invited to submit up to five images in each of the following eleven categories: architecture, editorial, fashion/beauty, fine art, general photography, nature/landscape, portrait, product, up-and-coming, wedding/social and, wildlife.

One Master will be chosen for each of the eleven categories.

Christian Norgaard, from Hasselblad, said: “Last year, the quality of submissions was so exceptional that it was quite difficult to select only 10 winners from the applicants we received.

“We anticipate that this year’s entries will again exceed our expectations,” he added.

All images must be submitted digitally by December 31, 2010.

Follow the link for full details on how to submit you images to the 2010 Hasselblad Masters Awards competition

Got a photography-related news story? Email

Serif PhotoPlus X3 image editing software

I have not come across Serif image editing software before. Like the most photographers, I’m more familiar with Adobe Photoshop. Perhaps it’s time to be a bit less blinkered.

PhotoPlus X3 (£59.99), is Serif’s photo editing program. The latest version is aimed at the amateur user as well as the enthusiast, the latter in respect to the high end features, such as a Raw Image Studio as well as the ability to perform HDR merging.
In terms of functionality, Serif claim PhotoPlus X3 far outweighs Adobe Photoshop Elements and is almost on level par with Adobe Photoshop CS4.
Serif PhotoPlus X3 imaging softwareI hasten to add that I have not tried Serif PhotoPlus X3 myself, but here’s a link to an article that provides an independent view of the software so that you can form your own opinion. I have also included an interesting PDF file that Serif sent me – go to Serif information. This shows a functionality and price comparison with other programs.
I was contacted by Serif the other day, who claim that the PhotoPlus program was developed with the help of feedback forums and by taking on board comments from their customers.
The objective being to make it simpler to use than other photo editing titles by creating an intuitive interface, customisable work space and How-To tabs for additional guidance.
Serif have been developing and producing software for the last 22 years. The company says its software has  won over 200 awards and is sold through multiple channels that include; retail, distribution, OEM and direct to the end user.
Serif says: “Although we fall below the global recognition of Adobe or Microsoft, we are well known and respected within the software industry and renowned for our robust code base that is the backbone of our software”.
Well, after reading some of the revues of Serif Photo Plus X3, I have decided to include it in the PhotoActive Camera Shop. I would appreciate your comments when you have used it. Frankly at the price of just £59.99 – and I am told that updates are an awful lot less expensive than those for PhotoShop – I think it sounds like a step forward.

Focus On Imaging floorplan

Focus on Imaging, Europe’s biggest annual imaging show, has released the floorplan for this year’s 2010 event.

Over 200 exhibitors will be attending this year’s Focus 2010 in the Birmingham’s NEC – including PhotoActive.

Philip Dunn and his son Christian will be chatting about PhotoActive’s holidays and courses at stand L47 – just next to Sony.

“This will be our second Focus on Imaging show and we’re really looking forward to it,” said Philip.

“Especially as we’ve some great deals on our photography holidays and courses this year.”

“There’s a special ‘buzz’ at the Focus show, everyone there shares a similar interest and it creates a fantastic atmosphere,” Philip added.

The Focus on Imaging 2010 show takes place at the Birmingham NEC from 7 – 10 March, 10am until 5pm.

>> Follow the link to download your Focus on Imaging floorplan

Focus on Imaging 2010 | PhotoActive Holidays and Courses – Stand L47

Monochrome & Colour photography all in one

Anyone who comes to me for photography tuition, or has read the PhotoActive blog, will know that I am not a great fan of over-manipulated images. I do not like pictures that have been created mostly on the computer – from whatever source. Pastiche or combinations of multiple images do nothing for me. Mostly they are hackneyed gimmicks and cover poor camera craft and lack of vision behind the camera.

monochrome and colour imageHowever, I have always maintained that I am happy to do anything in Photoshop that I could do in the darkroom – and some! The art of good darkroom printing technique is to interpret the image you saw when taking the picture. The art is to enhance, emphasise and accentuate the aspects of the picture that attracted you to capture it in the first place.

And so it should be with PhotoShop. The big difference is that today I can do these things so much more easily and effectively.

With this aim of accentuating what is was that attracted me to capture the a picture right at the start, I have been looking at a shot I took during one of our Photography Holidays in Menorca.

I wanted to sell the picture in my new Photo Print Gallery

The image could not be more simple. It is a picture of a wonderfully weathered stable door on a real working farm we often visit during our field trips. I love this gate, and have made the owner promise that if ever she sells the farm she will let me have the gate. I’ll get it home in my luggage somehow.

The wood of the gate is almost completely bleached to a silvery white, and, with careful camera positioning, the background can be made absolutely black. A perfect photographic subject for black and white, you might think. Yes, I agree. But the more I looked at the gate, the more I realised that one of its attractions to me was not only the monochrome of the wood, but also the rust colour of the chain which fastened it. It was the combination of these that made the picture attractive to me.

Here’s exactly where image manipulation in Photoshop comes up tops.

By simply removing what little colour remained in the wood and leaving behind the colour of the rusty chain, I have accentuated both aspects of the picture that I liked.

Now that, to me, is the real power of Photoshop and image manipulation.

The Photography Holidays in Menorca are now filling well, so please don’t leave it too late before you book this year.

click here

PhotoActive’s online print gallery hits the headlines

PhotoActive’s new online print gallery has made the news after being reported in one of the leading publications for the media industry.

Philip Dunn launched the PhotoActive’s online art print gallery to showcase some of his photographs taken during a lifetime as one of the UK’s leading press photographers. reported on the new venture on their award winning website for journalists and the media industry –

The publication explained that fans of Philip’s work will now be able to purchase copies of his photographs directly from an online print gallery at his website, here at

“I’ve held several exhibitions and I always end up selling all my pictures so I thought an online gallery – as part of my website – would be a good way to reach a wider market,” Philip told a reporter.

“At the moment I’ve uploaded a few hundred pictures and I’ve made sure there’s a selection of different types and styles of photographs to suit everybody – press, travel, humorous, scenic and even contemporary wall art.”

Philip added: “I want to keep the gallery simple, unpretentious and user-friendly, making as many images available as I can – at sensible and affordable prices.”

To see for yourself the selection of pictures available for you to own follow the link for the online art print gallery.

If you would like more information on this news item please email

Photographic scale and a pint of beer

Creating an impression of scale within your image is not always easy. However, there are times when it’s a doddle. The photograph of the shire horse and his groom illustrate the point perfectly.
sense of scale in your photographsThis is a very old photograph – one of those I’m rediscovering as I trawl through my old negatives for my scanning project. I’m glad I found this one before it’s too late because it really is in a bad way and will need an awful lot of careful restoration work. It is a mass of scratches and dust specs. In fact, the dreaded negative fungus is well-established.
Still, if you can disregard the spots and scratches for now, it does illustrate my point about creating a sense of scale within a photograph.
This image dates back to the 1960s when some breweries still kept their working dray horses – and a staff of grooms and stable hands to care for them. I remember this wonderful shire was called Prince and he was then the tallest shire horse in Britain. It was taken at the Robinson’s Brewery in Stockport and I think the picture may have been published in The Manchester Evening News.
Robinsons kept two dray horses for deliveries to pubs in the town centre. Prince’s groom, whose name I cannot remember, was just four feet nothing tall. The two looked wonderful together.
I do remember I took lots of photographs, but this one seemed to work best because the man has climbed his special wooden steps in order to get high enough to look Prince in the eye.
It was vital to have the man in tip-toe to emphasise his lack of height while the horse towered above him. When Prince nodded his head, he very nearly knocked the chap off his steps.
My other happy memory of this assignment was the heavenly pint of Robinson’s Best Bitter I enjoyed when the photographs were safely in the bag.


New Canon EOS 550D camera

Canon this week launches the new EOS 550D. This is an 18Mp DSLR camera with full HD video and many semi-professional features aimed at the advanced enthusiast photographer.

The New EOS 550D is now stocked in The PhotoActive Camera Shop – it is expected to be available later next week.

It is also available from our Affiliate Jacobs Digital in the following kits. Just follow the links to learn more and buy

Canon EOS 550D Body only Canon EOS 550D Body only
Canon EOS 550D 18-55mm lens Canon EOS 550D with 18-55mm kit lens
Canon EOS 550D with 18-55mm and 55-250mm lenses
canon-eos 550 18-135


Canon EOS 550D with 18-135mm lens

The new Canon EOS 550D features:

  • 18 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 4 processor with ISO 100-6400 (Expansion to 12800)
  • Continuous shooting at 3.7fps
  • Full HD movie recording with manual control and selectable frame rates
  • 7.7cm (3.0”) 3:2 Clear View LCD with 1,040k dots
  • iFCL metering System with 63-zone Dual-layer Metering Sensor
  • Quick Control screen to change shooting settings
  • Exposure compensation +/-5 stops.
  • Select maximum value for Auto ISO
  • External Microphone socket
  • Movie crop function
  • Eye-Fi connected functions compatibility