I often use my children as subjects before I have a big shoot scheduled. I will bring my children to the location, and have them help scout, pick angles and model for me. This provides valuable feedback on how the light and environment responds to my gear and settings and gives me the opportunity to review my images before the make or break day. Practice with New Gear I am a Canon shooter and a member of Canons professional services program. It is free to borrow lenses through this program. Last year, I borrowed a Canon 200mm F/2.0 lens. I was … [Read more...] about Using your Children as Models
So often someone will take the time to light the talent to look great but forget to light the background and give the image some depth: One method is to use a Cucoloris. Some will refer to it a s a cookie cutter:The Cucoloris will create a shadowed texture onto your background depending on the distance the light source is from the Cucoloris. The general rule with light is that the closer the light the softer the light, the larger the light the softer the light. Allow me to show you this theory in practical application:As you can see in the … [Read more...] about Cucoloris for Shadowed Texture
I have a love/hate relationship with teleconverters (also called telephoto extenders or telex tenders - TC.) When I was a young man and dead broke, I used them to try to get more focal length and hated the results. Then again, when I was young, the quality of the average teleconverter was horrible and my technique not much better. Now, decades later, teleconverters from manufacturers like Nikon and Canon are very, very good. (There are other good teleconverters from other manufacturers but I mention Nikon and Canon because I am most familiar … [Read more...] about Thoughts About Using A 2X Teleconverter In Photography
Disclosure: This bag was provided to me free of charge from Aide De Camp. Feature image on left is Brian Matiash Not long ago I received the Evie bag from Aide De Camp to test out and review. I spent some quality time with this bag and wanted to share my thoughts! For those of you who follow my blog, you may already be aware of my frustrations with "girl" camera bags. Spoiler alert: this bag was a nice surprise! Keep reading to find out more. The Basics: The Evie bag is a nice sized bag, and makes for a good large purse. It's a little boxy at … [Read more...] about The Evie Camera Bag from Aide de Camp
One of the most used tools on a Hollywood set, oh heck on any set, is the C-Stand. C in Roman numerals representing the numeral 100 is how the C-Stand got its name, 100's of uses. When closed it's 53" high, it can be extended to 10'6", it usually is ordered with a 40" arm and Grip Head. The C-Stand is a very versatile tool in the photographer's arsenal. Allow me to show you how to take advantage of the C-Stand. One way is a reflector holder:You simply secure a piece of foamcore or any material that you're using to reflect light onto the talent. … [Read more...] about C-Stands 101
When Nikon showed off the D5 at CES last month, Canon devotees muttered, "Just wait!" Now the wait is over and Canon has announced their forthcoming flagship DSLR, the EOS-1 D X Mark II. While the blazing 14 FPS frame rate and shiny new autofocus technology will deservedly garner much of the attention over the next few days, there are a few things about the new beefy camera that are truly surprising to me. For the record, I have been a Canon EOS user for over 20 years and I have a battered old EOS-1 to prove it. I sold my EOS 5D Mark III and 7D … [Read more...] about Canon’s New EOS-1 D X Mark II Brings Some Surprises
As a working professional who relies on Canon gear to run my business, I get excited when I wake up to news that there's a new flagship camera on the market. This morning, Canon dropped the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. While I am a self professed non-techie, I still felt obligated to check out the specs to see what they could mean for me: Price Point: Gulp. Let's face it. This camera is $6 grand ($5,999) and that's a lot of money for most of us. That's twice the price point of what (I would argue) are Canon's most popular pro cameras in the 5D … [Read more...] about My First Impressions of the New Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
With the holidays just finished - you can bet there are lots of new camera owners out there. Some percentage of them will be infected with the same love of photography that all of us here at Photofocus have. When that happens, eventually, the question comes up. (Even with those who have had their camera for a long time) What piece of camera gear should you buy next? As usual, the answer is It depends. But you can always be safe with Another lens. Camera bodies come and go but lenses last pretty much forever. In general, lenses have more to do … [Read more...] about What Piece Of Camera Gear Should You Buy Next?
If youre like me, you got a new camera and dove in, shooting like a madman and making all kinds of pictures of all kinds of things. After a few gazillion pictures, I was starting to figure out a few things about my camera and how it worked. I remember that my world really changed when I learned how to use control the autofocus. I stopped having soft focus pictures and pictures with the background sharp and started getting the tack-sharp focus I saw in others work. Focus is one of our most creative tools in photography. Its the power to draw … [Read more...] about Got a New Camera? Take Control of Autofocus
I recently came upon a new house brand called 3Pod at Adorama - the giant New York-based camera and electronics store. And the first product I tested is a monopod. Its called the: 3Pod Orbit 4-Section Carbon Fiber Photo/Video Monopod with Fluid Base and TiltHead with Quick Release. While thats a very long official name, what it is - well its a monopod. And a darned fancy one at that. Lets start with the good news. This is a carbon fibre monopod and its inexpensive. At under $120 its the least expensive CF monopod I can find. Like all Adorama … [Read more...] about 3Pod Carbon Fiber Monopod Mini Review
Take a look behind the scenes on set with Vanelli as he shoots Florida Tech senior lacrosse player Evan Ryan. Vanelli starts by setting the stage and getting to know Evan. He then builds a set and brings in a few speedlights to light the scene. For the last pose, Vanelli adds in water and smoke effects to the scene for the ultimate sports portrait image. https://youtu.be/9-2VVFhX3SI Featured Gear Nikon D700 Sigma 85mm f1.4 lens Westcott Strip Boxes with grids Westcott Rapid Box Octa … [Read more...] about Behind the Scenes of Florida Tech’s Evan Ryan Photo Shoot
Triggertrap just released Version 4.1 of their already-amazing iOS app. Their developers re-wrote the core of the app to bring some pretty cool new features. For those that don't know, Triggertrap is a camera remote control solution that uses your smartphone to trigger your camera. The app can use things like the face detection sensor, motion sensors, internal cocks, GPS, sound and vibration sensors to trigger a camera. Whether you want to capture an epic timelapse movie, a dramatic long exposure shot or dive into explosive high-speed … [Read more...] about Triggertrap iOS Version 4.1
Some of the most used tools on a Hollywood set are C-Stands and Apple Boxes. Then there are these little babies, Baby Plates. What is a Baby Plate you ask? It's a 5/8 stud, about 3" tall, welded onto a 3.5" x 6" metal plate. It has many uses. Allow me to share a few of those that I've used on the set. One of the most common uses for a Baby Plate is a very low light stand:It has a very solid feel and is very stable for most strobe heads. As you can see in the picture, this Baby Plate has 8 holes in its base. Some will have 4. The purpose for … [Read more...] about No Sippy Cups here, just Baby Plates
Ever since Sony replaced their proprietary Minolta hotshoe in favor of a their Multi Interface Shoe many users have been asking for an Off-Camera TTL Flash Cord for Sony Multi Interface Shoe Cameras & Flashes. Good news, the wait is over! Vello 3' Off-Camera TTL Flash Cord for Sony Multi Interface Shoe ($29.95) allows you to remotely fire Sony flashes with ADI / P-TTL capabilities and the Multi Interface Shoe - removing the flash from the camera's hot shoe. This coiled 3' flash cord is enough distance to accommodate hand-held lighting … [Read more...] about Vello Off-Camera TTL Flash Cord for Sony Multi Interface Shoe
mountaineer noun mountaineer \?mau?n-t?-?nir\ 1: a native or inhabitant of a mountainous region 2: a person who climbs mountains for sport When I was a kid, I was a mountaineer, and I spent all my time studying mountaineering. You'd be surprised how much thought has gone into mountaineering. I learned techniques for everything from how to walk down a hill to how correctly use Velcro. Mountaineers are manic about their equipment, and some of those skills have served me well in Photography, too. Here are three essential habits surrounding bags … [Read more...] about 3 Mountaineering Tips for Your Camera Bag
Nikon had a big day earlier this week at CES 2016 in Las Vegas. In addition to launching a totally-new 360 camera, Nikon also launched a new flagship D5 FX camera, as well as a D500 DX camera. D5 The D5 has a long list of impressive specs: 20.83mp CMOS full-frame sensor Unprecedented native ISO range, from 100 to 102,400 [expandable from 50 (Lo-1) to a staggering ISO 3,280,000 (Hi-5)] 4K UHD video (3840x2160 at 30p) only 3 minutes record time at high quality uncompressed 4k HDMI output capability to record 4K UHD … [Read more...] about Nikon Introduces the new Flagship D5 and D500 Cameras at CES
I realize I am in the minority when I say that I generally see no need for super high-resolution cameras like the Nikon D810, the Canon 5DS R and similar bodies with full-frame sensors boasting crazy high pixel counts. It just doesn't make sense on paper. The more pixels you cram on a sensor, the noisier it becomes. Why does that matter? The photo community seems to crave utterly noise-free cameras. Given the fact that so many photographers have been raised in the last 10 years to think any noise at any ISO is bad, something has to give. Either … [Read more...] about I Tried Several High-Resolution Camera Bodies This Month And Here’s What I Learned
Its a beautiful sunny day, you're shooting indoors looking out to a sliding glass door or window and its brighter outside than on your set. Your talent is moving so HDR is not an option. You really don't want a silhouette, if you expose for the talent then your sliding glass door or window blows out with light, what do you do? Allow me to share with you about Black Scrim material. You can purchase it as a open ended flag with various sizes as shown here at B&H, or just the fabric, stretching it over a 18x18 frame as seen here from NCIS:For … [Read more...] about Scrim for Lighting Detail
GoPro created the action camera segment. Many others followed but, with the exception of Sony, all have met with limited success. With today's announcement at CES, Nikon enters the fray and brings something entirely new to the table … 360 degree video. Named the "Key Mission" (KM), Nikon's first action cam is scheduled to deliver 360 degree, 4K video, the backbone of Virtual Reality (VR) capture. Technical details of the new camera remain vague, including battery life, price, recording codecs/formats and a delivery date. Slightly … [Read more...] about Nikon Challenges GoPro With 360/VR Capture
Drones are really a lot of fun once you safely learn to fly them. Here are a few important tips to help you get up and flying. I didn't list them in any particular order, so be sure to read through all of them before you get started. Know how to shut your drone off quickly! As youre learning to fly your drone, things can sometimes get out of control. The best thing to do is land the drone and shut it off. Practice just turning it on and off, without lifting it from the ground. Find a large, open area outside for your first flight. Its going … [Read more...] about 10 Tips for New Drone Flyers
It's a new year, and that means updating your copyright information! For photographers, this oftentimes means making updates in more than one place, like your Camera, post-processing software, and possibly your website. On Your Camera All camera models will be a little different, but they should each have a place to enter your info. For this example, I'll show how to set your info using a Canon 6D. (If you have utility software for your camera, then you may be able to edit your information on your computer. Then, connect your camera for it to … [Read more...] about It’s a New Year! Don’t Forget to Update Your Copyright Info
As a portrait photographer, I love getting a close, tight shot that really captures the personality of my subject. Understanding the limitations and effects your gear has on the final image is vital. Close up portraits are typically shot using a focal length of 85mm or longer, but when starting out, these lenses may not be an option. It is common for photographers to start out using a 50mm lens and grow their arsenal from there. I love my "Nifty 50." When shooting in a small space, the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G is my go-to lens most of the time. I … [Read more...] about Lens Distortion in Portraits
Have you tried to delete images or video on your iPhone to free up space, only to find out that you never seem to gain any free space? Apples Photos app has a built-in trash folder to save you from immediately deleting your photos or videos. Its set to auto-delete after 30 days, but its really easy to manually delete. Heres my quick tip: Step 1 Inside Settings > General > About, we can see how much space we have remaining on our phones. Step 2 Inside the Photos app, click on Albums in the lower-right corner. Step 3 Find the album … [Read more...] about Quick Tip to Free Up Space for Photos on Your iPhone
What started out as a quick 36-hour trip to Pittsburgh turned into a full-scale video production to help out a friend of mine with a shoot. Luckily for me I was traveling as a one-man band and because Im flexible, I was able to gain a new client. Originally I was headed to pick up a production van for one of my main clients when I saw a Facebook post looking for somebody to shoot a testimonial video of a lawyer. At first, the idea was to just take a backpack to Pittsburgh and drive the vehicle back to Connecticut, but then things got a little … [Read more...] about 36 Hours in Pittsburgh | Tips for Packing Essential Gear
We all have been in that situation at the camera store where the salesman asked us if we want to add a protective filter to protect the front element of the expensive lens that we have just bought. And the argument of the salesperson sounds plausible at first. The front element is exposed the most to the elements and most at risk to be damaged. But here are a few points from my experience that should have you think twice about buying and adding one to your lens: Do you really want to put an inferior piece of glass in front of you top grade … [Read more...] about Why Christmas is the perfect time to take that protective filter off!
Everybody is talking about the movement to smaller and lighter cameras such as the Sony A7 series, Panasonic GH4, and Fuji models. This new group of mirrorless cameras are known as a DSLM, or digital single-lens mirrorless camera. Let me explain A traditional film camera with an interchangeable lens was known as a single-lens reflex camera (one lens, with a mirror). The mirror provides the photographer with the image you see in the viewfinder. Traditional mirrors show the environment exactly as your eyes would see it. As technology progresses, … [Read more...] about What is a DSLM?
There are lots of sites publishing lists of inexpensive gifts for photographers. But what about those of you who had a good year and who want to share the love with your favorite photographer? Heres your list These five items are high-end gifts that just about any photographer would enjoy. They are priced between $120 and $1100 and no matter what kind of gear your photographer has now, theyre going to want one or all of these. In no particular order: Here my top five recommended high-end holiday gifts for photographers. 1. The Lensbaby … [Read more...] about Five High-End Holiday Gifts Guaranteed To Make Your Photographer Happy
Fujifilm announced a new firmware update, v4.20, for the X-T1! Fujifilm has been known to listen to us, their users, to update features. I, for one, am super excited for the ability to shoot with the a flash in continuous low and continuous high, as previously, one could only fire the flash on a single image capture mode. Other things that make life easier, like focus and exposure locking while in manual focus mode, will help those macro shooters and those who crave a way to make sure they've got tack sharp focus. Details are below: Using a … [Read more...] about Fujifilm X-T1 Firmware Update v4.20
Over the years of photographing weddings I've learned how to edit the amount of gear I take with me. In the beginning, I was unsure of what I'd come across so my car would be stuffed silly with all kinds of things that I never ended up touching. Here's what has stood the test of time and why: 1) Roller Bag: Do your back, neck, and shoulders a favor and use a roller bag. Even a small amount of gear is heavy, particularly when you're carrying it for 7-12 hours while running around a hotel, venue, and reception site. I use ThinkTank's Airport … [Read more...] about Gear I Can’t Live Without On Wedding Day
Dang it, why isn't there a universal tech language out there?! I mean seriously, as photographers and videographers, we already have to deal with all sorts of random vocabulary to understand our craft, why must there be even more to decipher? Now that my rant is slightly over, let me share the super secret code that may help you understand the write performance of the card you have, and the cards you'll perhaps end up buying in the future. First and foremost, we're going have to understand what "x-speed" is -- Companies note the maximum … [Read more...] about X-Rated – The Solution to Understanding X-Speed Memory Card Speeds.