Meet Janice Unitt, AKA Granny Jan’s Pics – whose background in floristry and capturing floral creations with her Olympus camera led to a passion for taking artistic images of nature and wildlife.
Why and how did you get into photography?
I originally got into photography as I was a florist, and needed pictures of my work for social media and my website. I relied on photographs from wedding photographers but there was always a delay in getting these, so I decided I would try myself. I bought a camera and really didn’t have a clue what I was doing, and at that time I didn’t have the time to devote to learning.
How did you become an Olympus photographer?
I started off with Canon kit which I liked, but the weight was becoming a problem. I wanted something lighter, and I also knew others who used Olympus kit, which helped sway my decision.
What subject do you most often take photos of?
My main interest to date has been wildlife and floral photography, although I will try most other things. Of late I have wanted to get into a more creative way of working and have been experimenting with textures, multiple exposure and ICM.
How often do you take pictures?
I’m taking pictures most of the time and usually have my camera in the car. When I’m not taking pictures I’m either editing, or reading even more about photography and following others I find inspirational …. oh, and doing workshops!
What’s in your camera bag?
Either the E-M1X and a E-M1 Mark II, or both of my E-M1 Mark II bodies, depending what I am doing. I would then choose the lenses I felt I needed for the day which would always include the M.Zuiko 40-150mm, probably the M.Zuiko 300mm F4 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm, possibly my 60mm Macro, filters, spare batteries, cleaning cloth – and the 1.4 and 2x convertors and possibly a reflector. I now use my M.Zuiko 12-100mm as my go-to lens as it is so versatile.
What kit’s essential for your preferred genre, other than cameras and lenses?
Filters, tripod with either a geared or gimbal head, a bean bag and mat to lay on the ground, spare batteries, spare cards and a screwdriver I carry to help me tighten and loosen the plate that attaches to the camera for the tripod head – plus a cleaning cloth or two.
What keeps you busy, other than photography?
Work until recently, but I am just about to retire – so walking my two gorgeous spaniels and spending time with my five grandchildren.
Do you shoot in Raw or JPEG? (and did you change – and why?)
I shot in JPEG originally but have now been shooting in RAW for what seems like ages, as it gives me more flexibility with post-processing.
How do you know when one of your images is good – what do you look for?
Hard question, as I am always super critical. That said, I never make a decision from the back of the camera – my eyes are just not good enough for that. When I download I will be looking to see if something catches my eye. And it may be that then I will look at an image and think that with a bit of tweaking it will be better – perhaps a certain crop or slight colour adjustment or removing something that detracts from the image. More often than not, if I am doing floral photography for instance, I have a picture in my head before I start that I want to try and capture, and will spend hours trying to get exactly what I want.
What’s your workflow like?
I always start a session with a clean formatted card. At the end of the day I will then download this onto an external hard drive. I set up a folder on the external hard drive with the following as the name of the folder: ‘year/month/day and then subject title’ and import the images into the library in Lightroom and the named folder. If I have the time to spare, I then delete the images that will not be used – but if I do not have the time at that point will leave until later.
How much editing do you do after you’ve taken your photographs?
Editing really depends on the image. I do very little with wildlife photography but possibly more on other images especially if I am wanting to use textures or create an abstract or more artistic shot. In most cases, as a minimum, I would check if a crop was required and then look at the contrast (and exposure if needed). I would also look at the highlights and shadows/blacks and whites, texture, clarity and saturation if needed – and very often add a small keyline to the outer edge of the image.
What do you do with your photos once they’re finished?
I am terrible with posting things on social media: I think this is due to a lack of confidence and is something I need to learn to overcome. I also enter pictures in my photography club competitions, and am working towards my CPAGB and about to start the BPE journey.
What’s the best feature of Olympus kit?
I really don’t think I can give one best feature of the kit. There is so much that is fantastic about it, and I’m learning all of the time. The Olympus sessions that have been put on over the lockdown periods have been absolutely amazing, and so, so informative to help with a deeper understanding of all of the camera’s features.
What’s the most useful piece of photography advice you’ve ever heard?
There are two: the best camera is the one you have in your hand – and the only photographer you should compare yourself to is the one that you were.
Who or what inspires you?
Being outside in nature inspires me as I love wildlife, flowers and foliages, textures and colours – but also the work that I see of others. I also love the work of the old Dutch masters and would love to get to a stage of producing photographic work in this style.
Aside from photography, what do you wish you were really good at?
At this stage in my life if there was something I could be really good at, it would be to be a good swimmer and conquer my fear of the water.
If you could only have one lens on your camera, which would it be?
Probably the 40-150mm, and I could then use a convertor… this is a tough one!