Leeds

Why You Need To Print & What to Print Your Images On

You may have already seen a number of videos or read a bunch of articles explaining why you need to print your images. This is something I wholeheartedly agree with. As a photographer whether professional or not, printing your images will undoubtedly improve your skills and perspective.

Chances are that in most cases you're probably viewing your images on a full HD screen, which is actually only about 2MP in resolution. Even if you're lucky enough to have a 4K display that's still only around 8MP. Currently, every entry-level DSLR that you can buy is at least 24MP, so you can imagine the difference in resolution is obviously impacting how you view your images. There's nothing quite like being able to see your hard work and creativity in a large print. 


There is, however, the question of what you should print your images on. There are so many options available, such as Canvas, Glass, Aluminium, Paper and so on. A company called https://zor.com/en/ recently reached out to me and were kind enough to print one of my images onto three different materials for me to compare. The images were printed on Glass, Aluminium and another material called ForEx which is similar to canvas however much better in every area. 

Leeds Cityscape 

The image above is one of my favorites of Leeds city center because I love how the architecture and colours work so well with one another.  This image was also shot with my favourite camera the Canon 5DSR and the incredible Zeiss 135mm f2 APO. The detail and clarity are stunning and I wanted to see how Zor.com could perform in rendering all of the detail and colours. 

Check out the video below to find out which print looks the best and which is my favourite. 

 

Buy your print here from https://zor.com/en/ using the discount code ZorAndUsman for 10% off

 
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100mp Phase One vs Canon 5DSR and A7RII: Architectural photography

What is the absolute best camera you can buy for Architectural photography? Many professional photographers would immediately say "medium format technical camera". For the longest time, I believed this to be true and assumed that for the absolute best image quality for the kind of work I do I would eventually need to upgrade to a medium format system. I believed this until I actually tried the system and made some objective comparisons.

In the video linked below, I demonstrate how medium format and Rodenstock lenses actually perform against full frame cameras and dispel some widely known "truths".  
 

Link to images  

Fstoppers tutorial

Canon 5DSR vs 5D Mark IV, which should you buy?

When it comes to buying new cameras, it can sometimes be quite difficult deciding which is best. This seems to be especially true when it comes to deciding between the Mark IV and 5DSR. A number of people have been asking me which of these two would be best to buy and in this review, I aim to answer that question. 

I will quickly mention, before starting this review I thought that this was a tough question, however, as I did more and more comparisons, the decision became much clearer and easier. Also, I was a little conscious about the length of the original video so I have split some of the comparisons into a second unlisted video, available for you to view below. 

To begin with, we started in the studio taking a few images of Amina who is a fantastic model. Considering my lack of experience working with models I decided it would be best to have my friend Imran take over for this section. His experience working in studios and with models meant that he could deliver the results and also express his thoughts. Ultimately he wasn't too bothered about the extra features of the Mark IV and opted to side with the 5DSR. The detail and clarity were what really blew him away. Things to consider are the fact that when shooting with the 5DSR, any issues in your technique will be amplified and the results can be vastly different. The 5DSR is a very unforgiving camera whereas the Mark IV can be far more flexible and forgiving to your techniques.

Dynamic range can be quite an important feature for allot of people and this is where the 5D Mark IV really excels. For any single image taken from each of these cameras the Mark IV images are far more flexible and clean. The amount you can recover safely really make a difference to your workflow, you may not need to take that extra shot you do with the 5DSR increasing time spent and storage costs. Having said that, adding some noise reduction to the 5DSR can really shrink the gap. Also if time and storage costs are not a factor for you then using several layers to create the final image will really increase the difference in image quality. Both have their respective advantages in this area and it depends on your individual requirements. 

Long exposures have similar results in that the 5DSR is much noisier when compared to the 5D Mark IV across the frame. This is going to a much bigger factor to consider if you're shooting at slightly higher ISO, as the amount of noise may start to make the images unusable for many. Noise reduction will still clean up the 5DSR images quite a bit making them very comparable and potentially even more detailed. 

The main areas where the 5DSR can perform really well are colours, sharpness and detail. In controlled environments where you shoot at the lowest ISO, you can achieve some of the absolute best image quality. The colours tend to be more vibrant and accurate based on my testing and the detail is significantly more.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I much prefer the 5DSR, the incredible image quality and detail are very appealing to me. Most of my professional shoots are done using manual lenses, therefore I tend to take my time for each image ensuring I'm getting the best results. I enjoy shooting with more layers and bringing out the extra detail in post, that to me is part of the fun and not at all a chore. 

Before doing this comparison I didn't enjoy using the Mark IV very much at all because to me, it represents a little bit of a middle finger from Canon. Having said that, after doing all of these tests and comparing it to the 5DSR, I now firmly believe that it is one of the best cameras you can buy. For most people, the Mark IV is a much better option, the 5DSR is far too niche of a camera for the majority. Yes, the 5DSR does have better image quality, however, image quality is not really that important when comparing cameras at this level. For that extra detail and resolution, you will be sacrificing far too many useful features to make it worth while. On top of that, the Mark IV will dramatically improve your workflow when compared to the 5DSR. The cleaner and more flexible images straight out of the camera from the Mark IV mean that for most uses it is far more effective.  

I'm still quite disappointed in Canon for releasing a camera with such unnecessary and obvious limits. Even with that, however, I strongly recommend the 5D Mark IV above the 5DSR.  

Please check out my video above and if you're interested in seeing some of the other tests I did please check out the second video below. 

Sony 85mm GM vs Sigma 85mm Art

Sony 85mm GM vs Sigma 85mm Art

In this video, I look at the Sigma 85mm f1.4 art and Sony 85mm f1.4 GM lenses, to determine which one is better. Find out which lens is going to be more suitable for you in this comparison video.

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Interior Design and Photography

These days, professional photography is pretty much a requirement for many industries. With more and more people on social media and even better, higher resolution screens on mobile devices, it's illogical to have sub par images demonstrating your service/product. Fortunately for us, our clients only demand the best photography, which not only keeps us on our toes, but also adds allot of value to the work we do. 

The framing stand of the bedside cabinet brings a really unique look. 

We recently had the pleasure of working with interior designers, Tareen and Tareen. Sisters, Nadia and Ayisha Tareen, produce some amazing results together and we were lucky enough, to be able to photograph their latest work.  Their passion and flair is clearly visible in what they do, from the smallest details to the bigger picture of creating whole room sets. 

Many people don't consider the benefits of hiring an interior designer and allot of the times, it's based on assumptions relating to price. The value of working with an interior designer, is to essentially create something that couldn't have ordinarily been created by one's self. In many cases interior designers have benefited clients by preventing costly mistakes and even helped increase property values, thus negating the initial apprehensions relating to price. Not to mention the fact that, a good interior designer will have a significant number of contacts which can again, help reduce the overall cost. This is similar to the photography industry, clients hire professionals because they understand the importance and value it brings. The initial cost is effectively an investment rather than a sunk cost and therefore has a return associated with it. On occasions those returns may be intangible, however, not hiring a professional poses a higher risk factor. 

There are allot of great reasons why you should hire an interior designer for your projects. Picking the best one for you depends on your project and vision. Having said that, a good designer can also provide much needed help when devising primary plans. We highly recommend Tareen and Tareen, because we firmly believe in their customer service and more importantly, their ability as designers. It's an absolute pleasure working with them and we look forward to continuing with them. 

 

Creams British Luxury Leeds

I'm always looking for an excuse to indulge a little and a new tearoom in Leeds is just too difficult to resist.

Creams British Luxury, recently opened their doors in Leeds city centre and wow is it something. Although I haven't visited their original location in Huddersfield, the new location is very impressive. Upon entering, you can immediately see the attention to detail and how much effort and investment has gone into the place.  A single chandelier costs £20,000, and the piano... well, let's just not get into that, it's safe to say the interior is pretty awesome.

Now considering the fact this is a tearoom/restaurant, let's get down to brass tacks and talk about the food. I've had the pleasure of dining there a number of times and in my humble opinion, it's very good. The presentation has been thought out properly and the cutlery feels premium. There are a number of dishes available from sandwiches to believe it or not, Fish and Chips. The food is reasonably priced and also the portions are far from pretentious. Lastly the tea and desserts are where Creams really excel. They haven't made the classic mistake of making the desserts overly sweet, instead there is a great deal of discernible flavour. My favourite has to be the strawberry scone. They have a large selection of teas available and depending on your mood, I'm confident there's something for mostly everyone. 

There a few things I think could be improved, for instance the physical menu, it feels and looks tacky and not at all like the brand. The food selection also feels a little scattered and lacking identity, some of what's offered seems out of place. Also the location they have in Leeds is almost hidden away and took us a bit of time to find it the first time. Lastly being the photography nerd that I am I think the images they currently have could be improved. As you may be able to tell, I am nitpicking and the negatives I have pointed out, are insignificant when considering the overall experience. 

Even the view compliments the interior. 

My favourite thing about Creams is the fact that the staff are so amazing. I've visited both as a customer and a photographer and on every occasion they've gone above and beyond. I have allot of admiration for the team at Creams and I think with them managing the tearoom, it's in safe hands. 

Overall I definitely recommend Creams, I think they've done a fantastic job. There aren't allot of places like this and it's a very welcomed addition. I understand they're expanding quite rapidly and new locations will be coming soon all across the country and in Dubai too. 

In the meantime click here to check out some of the other images we've taken for Creams. 

Architecture in Leeds city

It's no secret, Leeds city centre is one of my favourite places for photographing architecture. The city is in the middle of a development boom and it looks extremely promising. With places like Victoria Gate and Sovereign Square being developed in Leeds, the city is definitely starting to look and feel very modern. The glass and steel structures are really impacting the landscape and although some may disagree, I welcome it. 

Sovereign Square - Currently under development

From my experience the main reason why some may disagree with the new buildings in Leeds is because they feel it does not keep to the surroundings. Although this may be true, I believe architecture is about creating our own surroundings. Progress can be steeply reduced if we continue to try and serve the current as opposed to finding the new. 

Having said that I'm a big fan of the older buildings in Leeds too. I love the contrast between the old and new, in my mind it really adds to it. For instance if you take the Corn Exchange in Leeds, a building steeped in history and even faced being demolished once, still stands proud. The interior of the building is simply beautiful and now serves as a place for many independent retail stores. 

I think by far my favourite part of Leeds is right in the heart, City Square. Admittedly driving around this area is an absolute nightmare, with the horrible one way system and parking anywhere habitable is a complete pain. Aside from that mini rant the buildings are simply wow. I absolutely love how some of the buildings in Leeds transition from old to new so well. Some of my other favourites are of course the Civic Hall, The Parkinson Building and not forgetting Bridgewater Place. All in all I'm quite proud of the architecture in Leeds and really looking forward to the new developments. I honestly can't wait to photograph them all. 

City Square - Leeds