Is your digital life safe ?

Protect your photos online

Protect your valuables



Do you know where all your digital photos are

Do you know how to protect your photos



Most people say that the most important thing they would save if their house was burning down would be their family photos. But what about the less dramatic incidents in life when you hard drive crashes or your phone is stollen.

If your computer is six or more years old then you have a 50% chance of its hard drive crashing. Hard drives will fail after time, this is guaranteed. It is also very easy to loose files and unknowingly delete them.

Police estimate 300,000 mobile phones were stolen in 2013. Thats 35 phones stolen every hour. A laptop or tablet is stolen every minute. Or 1 in six of use will loose our device.

If you have made a copy of your photos on CD then think again. CDs only have a shelf life of around 10 years and can easily get damaged.

Many people post photos to facebook and other social media services. There is no guarantee these companies will keep your photos safe. And what if Facebook closed down over night, would be able to retrieve your photos ? You get what you pay for in life.

With so many places to hide your photos, just finding them again can be a major task. Have you ever tried to find a photo from your holiday 5 years ago and could not remember where it is on your hard drive. One tip I have is rename you files as you save them with a unique identifier.

I recently decided to backup the phones of my iPhone and what I found was of some surprise.  I have had the same phone for 2 years now and discovered I had 3Gb of images to protect.  But there way problem.  How do you get your photos off you iPhone in one go.  Sure it is easy to share photo, email them etc one at a time but how do you capture everything in one go.  The tool I used was Adobe Lightroom to import everything and then exported the photos to my hard drive for sorting.

The system I use is create a folder for the year and in that folder create folders for each event and name them with the date and place or person in the photos. This way you can search you hard drive and find your photos.

To protect your photos I suggest using an online photo gallery system. There are many to choose from and the one I recommend is SmugMug which has unlimited storage and your can subscribe for 12 months from as little as £25. An online gallery will guarantee your photos are backed up and you can still share your photos with friend via Facebook is you wish.

Backup your photos, you are not immune and don’t wait until its too late.

Rules on photographing wedding ceremony

Photographing wedding ceremony can be a challenge for photographer, some times we are not allow to move, many venues don’t let you use flash, and some dont let you photograph any thing.  When planning your wedding be sure to ask the minister or clerk what their house rules are on photography.

The house rules on photographing a wedding is becoming more and more restricting theses days.   Wedding official’s for Church services and even civil ceremonies have all become hardened by the constant clicking and flashing of the modern digital photographer.  And some churches will not allow any photos during the wedding ceremony any more due to distribution of taking photos.

My solution to minimise the disruption during a wedding ceremony is to keep to a maximum of 6 shots during the ceremony itself.    During the ceremony I wait for those cherished moments, a little look, a smile, and the exchanging of rings.  From my experience just 6 shots is enough for the wedding album as the scene is pretty static and generally the photographer is not allowed to move during the service.   Capturing the setting, guests and details should all be achieved before the ceremony starts.

When faced with officials that have strict house rules once I explain that I will only  just take 6 shots during the service they are pretty ok to let  me do as I wish.  If all else fails then I have the bride and groom pose at the alter the ceremony to stage some shots.  I think this is such a special moment when two people have just given their vows and standing at the alter it really dose need to be recorded.


Photography by Mark Dolman

Fathers Day Gift

Amazing idea for Fathers Day gift. If your dad loves to take photos and you are stuck for an idea as he has all the latest gadgets then this may be the best thing you will ever give me.

People say the most important thing you would save if your house was burning down are your photos (after your family of course). These days this means lugging out your computer, scrambling under the table to find the external hard drive, searching the house for your phone, finding the iPad under the bed. Then fumbling through bags and coats for memory cards and of course your camera because you haven’t downloaded the photos yet.

Try this yourself, go now and grab all your devices in your house that store photos. If you are not back in 4 seconds then its game over.

As a pro photographer I use SmugMug to store all my clients and my personal images. You can too have a SmugMug account and chose the basic plan for personal photos and sleep safe knowing all your cherished photos are safe.

Whats even better is you can still share your photos to facebook or where ever via intelligent links so you know your images are safe and only seen by the people you want to see them. Even better is you can create one account for your whole family and post images via email from any device. SmugMug is very easy to use and they have real live people online 24/7 to help you with your gallery.

Chesham town has never looked so good by Chesham Photographer

Chesham Photographer Mark Dolman has complied a series of local images to show the beauty of this unique town.

Chesham is special market town with a unique community feel in the Chilterns Hills of South Buckinghamshire which is surrounded by countryside and situated in the Chess Valley.  Many people pass through Chesham daily without noticing its charm. As a photographer in Chesham I have really started to appreciate the beauty around us and continually search for new locations to show off what Chesham has to offer.  Below is my story of how it all started.


A couple of years ago we had heavy snow fall in Chesham and I was unable to get to work and my picture agency wanted some snow images for the press.  So off I went to photograph Chesham in the snow.  Sadly the photos we not used as I think every other press photographer was doing the same on that day but what follow has be quite remarkable.  The following year I was approached by Chesham Museum who wanted some images for their Charity Christmas cards and I provided them gladly for a credit on the back of the cards that now regularly sell out every year.  Since then a couple of other businesses have commissioned me to create local interest greeting cards and calendars. At the time of writing this I have just been approach by a local magazine and will be supplying them with images of a regular basis and will be going further afield to capture the surrounding areas including, Amersham on the Hill, Old Amersham, Coleshill, Winchmore Hill, Penn Street and Little Chalfont.

While scenery and landscape photography is not my main genre, I make my living photographing people at weddings, portraits, pr events and news journalism.  I take local photographs purely for pleasure that has enabled me to meet and work with some great people in our community.  I would love to hear from you if you have a favourite spot in these areas and think it is worth of being photographed for calender shot. Also if you are looking for a photographer in Chesham to photograph you family or business then I would be more than happy to help.  Many local photography studios have closed down in the area and I will soon be announcing a new studio location in Chesham that I hope will grow and become a permanent fixture and start employing a team of local talent as we grow the business.

Below is a galley of images taken by your local Chesham photographer Mark Dolman which were taken in all seasons and I will post new galleries through the year as I get around the other areas.


Makeover Photoshoot Party – New Price List for 2013

Our Makeover Photoshoot Parties are getting better every year.  For 2013 we have launched an new price list and will be including Digital Photo Frames in our packages.

Makeover Parties – Images by Mark Dolman

We have an up front pricing policy and our packages include low res images for you to share your makeover party photoshoot experience with your friends and every guest receives a complementary print.  There is no need to come back to the studio for a viewing so you miss out the hard sell that some other studios may do because they offer such a low price to begin with.  Via your personal online gallery extra prints can be ordered in your own time from as little as £6 per print.

If you are ready to share a unique experience with your friends at our studio in Kings Langley on the A40 between Watford and Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.  See our studio web site for more information and how to make a reservation

Makeover Phtoshoot Packages
60 minute makeover photoshoot
1 or 2 persons £150
Includes 5 High Res digital images retouched
1 x 10×8 framed Print

2 Hour makeover photoshoot
2 to 4 persons £200
Includes 10 High Res digital images retouched and two 10×8 framed Prints

3 hour Makeover Party Photohoot
6 + groups from £300
20 page hardback photobook for the party host
Online gallery to view and share your images with your friends and one 7″ x 5″ Print for each guest

6 Persons   £300
8 Persons   £350
10 Persons £400
12 Persons  £450

With all packages images are available online for viewing, sharing and ordering extra prints in your personal gallery.

Deposit required on confirmation of your booking is £50 or you can pre-purchse a makeover party as a gift via our online shop

Makeover Photoshoot Parties are great for teen birthday parties, school proms, mother and daughters makeovers, hen parties or just getting together with the girls for a cool afternoon getting made over and photographed in our relaxed spacious studio.

How to take a photo – Part One

Here are my tips on how to constantly capture the image you want by focusing on just 3 elements of your camera. This article focuses on how to capture the image by understanding light sensitivity, shutter speed and aperture. In future articles I will write about how to get more creative and working with different situations.

First thing to know is your camera is stupid. No matter who much money you have spent on your camera it is still stupid. If you use the P (Program) function on your camera with everything in automatic mode then your camera will try to guess what light is available and set the appropriate settings and invariably get it wrong. Have you ever been frustrated to take a picture and then look on the back of the camera and the image is too dark or fuzzy. In this article you will learn some of the basics to help you along and start using your camera and enjoy your photography.

Set your ISO

If you remember the old days of film then you would have heard about ISO. Basically the ISO is the film sensitivity to light. When you went on holiday to sunny Spain you would buy ISO 100 film and for cloudy days in England then ISO 400 or if going to a party then maybe ISO 800 would be needed. Your digital camera will have an ISO setting which works in the same way. So the first thing you need to do after you switched on your camera is set the ISO to the light conditions. Today’s Digital cameras way exceed what film could ever do and now we can set ISO’s of 2000 to 6000 and some way beyond. Beware the higher you go then the grainier the image will be. Setting a high ISO means your camera’s digital sensor is more sensitive to light and so you can shoot almost any situation while maintaining a high shutter speed keeping the image sharp and well lit.

Control your speed

Setting the shutter speed is probably the most important setting. Get it wrong and your images will turn out blurry though camera shake or moving subjects. As a rule for hand holding your camera use a minimum shutter speed of 100 (1/100 of a second exposure). For capturing people I like to use 250 and higher is possible to ensure images will be sharp.

So how do you know what is the ideal shutter speed you can get away with. Most people will use the built in camera meter or take a test shot to see what the light levels look like. If you want to measure light then try and get close to your subject to measure the light. The reason for this is your camera will measure the light available for the entire image and will compensate for the brightest part. Usually the sky or a lamp in the background which could leave you subject dark and under exposed. This is why setting you camera to manual mode helps you take control of the situation.

How much light ?

Setting Aperture is probably where most people start to get confused. The Aperture setting limits the amount of light entering the camera. Think of a set of curtains hanging in a window and when they are fully open this is what we photographers call f1 and when your curtains are half closed then this would represent f 5.6 and so on. The lower the Aperture (f) number the more light will hit the sensor in your camera and so the higher the number the less light will enter the camera. There are many reasons and combinations for speed vs aperture that I will explain in another article but for now I want you to focus on being able to capture the image before getting creative. For general purpose shooting try and fix your aperture to f5.6 which almost any lens is capable of. If light allows for higher settings then I love to use f8 as it offers a great depth of field which is the amount of area in front of you that is in focus. If you have ever seen an image with just a small part of the subject in focus and the rest is out of focus. Then what the photographer has done here is use a large aperture, something way below f5.6 to create the effect. The principle here is the smaller the f number (largest aperture) the short distance of the image is in focus which is called the focal length. So to capture a large group of people or landscape where you want everything in focus then use your highest f setting your camera allows.