From iPhone to Sony A7RII by Ryan Cole

From iPhone to Sony A7RII

by Ryan Cole


I have read your site now and again and used it as a good source of information before taking the plunge and buying a camera (Sony A7R2 and three manual Voightlander lens at 21mm, 35mm and 50mm) in November / December 2015. Before that I was using my iPhone for 4 months with the moment lens to make sure it was not just a passing fad.

Prior to August 2015 I was run down working two jobs totalling 55 hours a week in jobs I really didn’t enjoy. Circumstances panned out where I had a disposable lump sum of money and reverting to one job so I decided to use the opportunity of my new found free time and to buy a camera that I wanted (I know it’s not about the gear but if I went for an entry level camera, I would always be thinking would I be better with a better camera so instead I purchased the camera I was constantly looking at and I’m happy it will last me and only be added to if I ever get to the point where my hobby provided some income)

My three image submitted were from a day trip to Portmeirion, Wales, UK in February 2016 (first image was the road through Snowdonia national park on the way there).

Portmeirion is a weird little place in Wales and the creation of what most would deem a madman who commissioned all kinds of strange structures whilst limiting the impact on the natural surroundings. What it resulted in is a fairytale like village and whilst the images may be over-processed a little, they convey the sense of the place superbly (in my opinion but only been actively shooting for the last half a year or so)




I think these three are in my top 5-10 images and I’m happy that I am making progress whilst also being critical and reviewing where I am and assessing where I would like to progress to (also happy that my best images seem to progress month on month as I develop)

I’d be more than happy for you to post an image, maybe it inspires someone or maybe I get constructive criticism but either way I’m happy to share.

Thanks for taking the time to read, I think I’ve followed the posting rules and apologies if I have not.


Ryan Cole
Manchester, UK

His 500px is HERE


  1. Ryan – You have touched my heart with your image. I know that in my photography that’s what I aim for. There are million of technically good photographs out there. However, the ones that matter are the ones that create a response within us. You have succeeded.

  2. I like your style and you know this wasn’t your first time behind a lens…:-> Good work. Enjoy your new tools.

  3. at least there is one person here who watched the “Prisioner” No6………….i am not a number……………

  4. It is over processed, yes, but here it works for me. Makes the pictures a litte surreal but in the context of your story the are well done.
    Especially the 2nd and the 3rd picture are excellent, may be you could reduce the blue in the sky of the first one, it just may look a little more suspense?
    Just expand your fine series and may be show some more pictures in two or three months?

  5. I must dismiss people who will condemn and criticize the photography of others while concealing their own. I challenge every Ryan critic to submit his/her own set of photos to Steve. Let’s see how comfortable you are being publicly judged by a largely anonymous readership. While a person may not care for a particular image or style, to publicly critizice is to set oneself above and apart from the artist; a self-serving endeavor at best.

    You have done a wonderful job here, Ryan. Photography is not reality. Never. It’s art. Your art is expressive and enjoyable. Keep on shooting. Thank you for your post.

    • I already have. 😉 And I’ll submit more in the future. It’s a positive experience and I recommend to all readers to submit their work, whether it’s just one photo, or a travel portfolio.

    • Your comments are meaningless since Ryan knew full well the contract he entered into when posting his images here, he has three to post and thus receives comments from whomever sees fit to comment.

      Whether you care for this process or not is wholly irrelevant, and certainly, if you know anything about art, you will know that people have opinions. In my case, I don’t much case for Renaissance painting, I have an opinion but don’t feel obliged to show you or anyone else my paintings in defence or to backup any comments I might make.

      I know many a photo editor who decides what goes into any given magazine or paper, but they’re hopeless photographers, almost to a man / woman. Does that make them any less of an editor, any less qualified, any less able to comment?

      Google / Images of Ryan’s location maybe, or go onto Getty Images or the location’s main website and have a look at the location, then you may better comprehend the negative comments made, as Ryan clearly stated of his images, “…they convey the sense of the place superbly..” and I disagreed, as did others. Not out of spite nor of malice.

      Accepting other’s comments online is part of the contract you as a photographer enter into here, by showing your pictures, and so, for better or worse, this is the result, and has nothing to do with mine or other peoples’ photographic output, none at all.

  6. Thanks to all who have added comments and wisdom, I take any pros and cons on board both the same.

    Roll on the next 6 months

  7. Ryan.

    I appreciate my earlier comment may have left you a little deflated, so in the spirit in which you originally submitted your work, may I direct you to the following for a greater insight into visual story telling?

    Firstly there are the Sony Global Ambassadors –

    Panos –

    Magnum –

    V11 –

    NY Times Lens Blog –

    National Geographic –

    LensCulture Awards Winners –

    These should keep you entertained for months to come and will help you better construct what is meant by a photo story, or a sense of place (if you prefer). If you really want to tell a story thoroughly through your images, likely you will have to wear down your shoes each and every day in your pursuit of capturing the very essence of a story, from dawn to dusk and beyond to capture a place successfully, and not just on one visit I might add, it has to be an immersive experience to really get under a stories skin.

    Have fun and do let us know how you progress.

  8. It takes a long time (for most people) to become really good at photography, so I think you’ve made good decisions, which are made with the long term in mind.

    The A7rII might be more camera than you need, but OTOH you won’t have to buy another camera for years. For most applications, this camera is a better choice than any DSLR I know of, including the newest high-end models from Nikon and Canon – and it doesn’t cost that much, comparatively. If you do weddings or similar jobs, rent a second body and extra lenses, just in case.

    Personally I would prefer the A7 or A7s – but really, the A7rII does so much. The A7rII can do everything from huge prints at base ISO to weddings or parties lit by nothing but candles. And it can do high-end video if you want. All this in one compact package that’s about as small as a Leica M. It’s quite amazing.

    I do think you’ve used too much PP – if I notice it, it’s too much, IMO. I see processing as a way to protect what is there, not to add something that is not there. The last image is a good example of what not to do: not only is the processing obvious, but the highlights in the sky are blown out with really abrupt roll-off. Blowing your highlights is fine in and of itself, as long as the roll-off is natural – and here, it isn’t.

    As always, YMMV. 🙂

  9. Hi Ryan.

    I do not think you have captured the location at all, sorry, one sinister old canon and one highly PP building in the distance doesn’t in any way capture the surreal, otherworldly nature of this popular tourist attraction.

    Ryan, you have ignored the myriad of beautiful Mediterranean colours, the quite bizarre mix of Italian architectural styles and genuine humour in the designing and building such a vast array of eclectic buildings in one location, a little, condensed slice of Italy transplanted to Wales, and yet I am not getting this in your two pictures.

    Keep it simple, forget all the heavy PP until you have the composition and story telling abilities – that would be my advice to you.

    Telling us here that your photographs “.. they convey the sense of the place superbly” is not the way forward as it is for us to tell you, not you to tell us.

  10. I like the colors and moodiness. That style isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but variety is the spice of life. The horizon on all three shots looks a bit out of level — left side on all three is higher than the right (or maybe my brain is cockeyed). On the shot of the cannon, there is a little sliver of sky showing under the canon. I find that distracting.

  11. I like 2 and 3 particularly – yes they are highly processed but that rather suits the fantasy village that they show. I like them. Guy

  12. Nice pics I’m in a similar place to you Ryan both photographically an geologically I often looks at the pics and stories on here they’re great and educational.. Keep it up
    Greater Manchester

  13. Ryan.

    I know Portmerion, and as you say, it is a cornucopia of every conceivable Italian building style, no building is the same, but then Portmeirion was created by the architect Clough Williams-Ellis from 1925 to 1976 – it’s an absolute gem, a visual delight.

    The veritable riot of primary and secondary colours throughout, pastel hues and soft tones are deftly dove-tailed into each different structure; what a mischievous twinkle the designer had, such a laugh he must have had designing and shoe-horning every possible Italian architectural edifice into a small area.

    “ artful and playful little modern village, designed as a whole and all of a piece … a fantastic collection of architectural relics and impish modern fantasies. … ”

    Ryan said:”What it resulted in is a fairytale like village and whilst the images may be over-processed a little, they convey the sense of the place superbly”.

    One thought Ryan, it is, in my opinion, always better to seek peoples’ opinions before delivering your statement about your own images, else if that statement turns out not to be quite correct …..

  14. Thank you all (and Steve for allowing me to share) for the comments and criticisms, very much appreciated and I will take them on board.

    More importantly, I’m loving my hobby at this moment and I believe its improved my quality of life (getting out more, thinking creatively etc) and producing something others may enjoy for a moment is just a great by product.

    Thanks again!


  15. Hi Brian, first i like to congratulate you with your choice of going for manual prime lenses and of course Voigtlanders and the Sony are great.
    Contrast, how much PS is all a personal taste, your taste will molde itself over time, it’s part of the
    learning procedure. The first photo tips 1º down on the right side, check it out.
    I think your photos are fantastic and you only started about half a year ago.

  16. they look like paintings or game to my taste. If that was a purpose so let it be and call them great!!
    I personally like the last one, however first one look like you done different PP or exposure on left and right side and then made panorama.
    Keep on journey.

  17. Beautiful !!!!!!!!!! Don’t change the way you do things …… 🙂 🙂 🙂

  18. Well, Voigtländer lenses are good stuff; I use 21, 40 and 75 mm.
    But there too much photoshopping for my personal taste. I prefer
    as little as possible PS (maybe I’m a lazy bone) 😉

    Thanks for sharing your work and story!

  19. Nice story and nice photos. And a brilliant camera. That 50mm Nokton is a great lens.
    However a LOT too much PP for my personal taste.
    Keep up the journey.

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