The mirrorless bug finally bit me. As a long time Nikon shooter, I was patiently waiting for the Z series. With a D4S and D850, I was interested to see how the Nikon Z6 could fit into my professional (and personal) workflow. As a corporate headshot photographer, I’m typically on location, in a conference room for the day or in my studio for individual sessions. Headshots on location For the volume corporate headshot jobs, the D4S is still my favorite tool. It will sit there all day, ready for action in a fraction of a second. I love that it … [Read more...] about The Nikon Z6 for headshot photography
I was first introduced to light painting about 10 years ago by my colleague and fellow author Levi Sim and I instantly became hooked! We were at an event for the local photographers club that he ran and it was getting dark. All of a sudden he just shouted out "let's light paint." He then proceeded to yell out these settings to put into our cameras. Now to give you an idea of how naive I was about the whole photography world, let alone light painting at the time, I had to borrow his tripod and have him change all my settings. But that's beside … [Read more...] about Elevate your light painting with Light Paint Brushes
I was recently sent the Spiffy Speckular Core Kit along with the Spiffy Expansion Kit. The Speckular kit is a really unique daylight balanced LED light that can be configured into a variety of different shapes and sizes. It is fully dimmable and perfect for both video and stills. What comes in the core kit? In the kit you get four LED strips lights, each light measuring at 11-3/4 inches by 1.5 inches. It comes with four elbow connectors that connect your lights together and create different shapes. You also get one power supply and one set … [Read more...] about First impression of the Spiffy Speckular Core Kit
Why are there so many lens choices for your camera? The simple answer is that every photographer sees the world differently requiring the use of different focal length lenses. Different photographers, different lens choice For example, landscape photographers typically use wide-angle lenses, in the 10mm to 24mm range. This allows the photographer to create expansive images that are sharp from the foreground to the background. Wildlife photographers typically shoot with super telephoto lenses, 400mm and longer, as they are unable to get … [Read more...] about Why are there so many lens choices?
One of my favorite things to do for corporate clients is to make headshots at their annual meetings. Their employees live all around the country, so this is the only opportunity to make pictures for them all in one place. This is a challenging shoot, but it's a lot of fun — like a headshot factory that quickly turns out good portraits. My setup is simple and adaptive, and something similar could help you make a lot of portraits quickly. The space As you can see, I'm not allotted a whole lot of room. This is in the hallway outside the … [Read more...] about Portrait Tips: Headshot factory
Having the ability to accurately capture an image's color in-camera is a powerful one. How many times have you taken a photo and grown frustrated because your camera doesn't capture it "the way you saw it?" Often we become resigned to shoot an image and fix it in post-processing later. Full disclosure: When I first started out years ago, this was my go-to strategy for images. Later, when I was forced to spend hours fixing image after image on my computer, I'd want to kick myself. Fast forward to today, and experience has taught me how to … [Read more...] about How to get your color spot-on with the Illuminati color/light meter
My new Fuji X-T3 just arrived. I am so excited. The camera was only just released last week. I have barely used it and I am already "in love." Of course I am a tried and true Fuji fan, having walked away from my Nikon D800 a few years back. So I am probably biased. Time will tell if the camera truly lives up to its hype. 1. A newly developed fourth generation sensor — the X-Trans CMOS 4 I am clueless what the upgrade to the sensor actually means in technical terms. The sensor is now back-illuminated — I read that a back-illuminated sensor … [Read more...] about Ten reasons why I love my Fuji X-T3
I was recently on a family trip to San Miguel de Allende (SMA) in central Mexico. This colonial town is known for a seemingly endless succession of festivals throughout the year. Even the hot pinks, oranges and ochers favored for the architecture make it seem as if the town is perpetually decorated for a party. Our only prior trip to SMA was during a multi-day annual celebration for which it is rightfully famous: Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. If you’ve never experienced this, it may seem odd to hear it referred to as a … [Read more...] about Summertime photography: ¡Fiesta!
I recently had the chance to try out the Google Clips camera. To be honest, I hadn't heard anything about it. However, I am not all that techie and don't stay up on all of the latest gadgets. I quickly jumped online to do some research and read some reviews to see what it was all about. It turned out to be a little camera that is supposed to take pictures of people it recognizes. Which sounds super, super creepy now that I am saying it out loud...in my head. :) It works by linking to your Google photos and a technology called "machine … [Read more...] about Google Clips: I don’t hate it, but I’m not sure I love it — yet!
Medium Format digital cameras have sensors that are significantly larger than full frame DSLR's. That also means the lenses are larger and the price tag is usually much larger, as well. Hasselblad has long been one of the top manufacturers of medium format cameras, and this series of videos compares medium format with full frame. The videos are produced by Hasselblad, so I'm sure you can guess which one ends up being better, but they give a fair insight into some of the advantages of medium format. Hasselblad, Fuji, PhaseOne and Pentax … [Read more...] about Medium format vs. full frame
Fractals, people, are the new must-haves in my camera bag. I was introduced to Fractals at WPPI. My friend and fellow photographer, Kathy Mukhopadhyay, bought a set and mentioned that they were doing live demos throughout the trade show if I wanted to check them out. I snuck over briefly to see what all the fuss was about and let me just tell you, their booth was packed! People were jammed into their little area just to see what all the talk was about. Sadly by the time I had gotten up front they were already sold out. That's how hot this item … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Fractals (Your New Must-Have)
I shot this photograph at WPPI in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago. I was at the ClickProps Studio Backdrops booth. This company makes over 500 backdrops in various designs and sizes, and we got to test out a number of them. This photograph was shot against the "Brick Natural" backdrop. Our shooting space that was only about 5 feet by 10 feet. A Collaboration Between Two Photographers The photograph was a collaboration between 2 photographers: the model, Kat Armendariz of Hush Hush Shoot Studio in Las Vegas and me. Kat is one of Las Vegas's … [Read more...] about Lights, Colors, Fractals
What is a snoot? A snoot is just a funny name for a piece of equipment, generally a tube or similar objects such as a conical, cylindrical, or rectangular shape, that fits over a studio light or portable flash. It allows you to control the direction or area of coverage of the light. Basically, it makes the light more focused and concentrated by directing your light and focusing it. This makes the coverage very narrow and the light falls-off very sharply giving you a harsher or harder light. Adding a Grid Personally, I like the snoot and grid … [Read more...] about How to D.I.Y. a Snoot & Grid
For the past four years, I've photographed an event for Gilda's Club Grand Rapids — the Laughfest Signature Event. It features a highly sought-after comedian with the ultimate goal to raise money for cancer support. This year, Comedy Central's Trevor Noah (from The Daily Show) graced Grand Rapids with his presence for the event. While photographing comedians is a blast, being in the back of the room means you have to be creative in terms of how you're going to capture it. The first year, I was completely unprepared and had to rely on a much … [Read more...] about Mirrorless Camera Maniac: Panasonic Leica 200mm f/2.8 Offers Superb Build Quality & Reach
When packing for trips, I find myself seesawing between my Fuji X system and Nikon DSLRs. We do underwater, street, nature and landscape photography. Do I pack the Fuji X-Pro2, the crop sensor Nikon D500 and my old D800 or complicate things and buy the new Nikon D850? Earlier this winter, we were packing for street and winter nature and landscape photography in Japan. My wife and partner in Aperture Photo Arts is a die-hard Fuji shooter and between us, we have most of the Fuji X lenses and spare camera bodies. This was the logical … [Read more...] about Rediscovering a lens that I already owned
Last December, while in the middle of a shoot and half way thru the models, I tripped on my tether cord and shattered my Nikon body and the lens attached to it. Needless to say, it wasn’t my happiest moment in 2017 but it was my most valued. What Is Tethering? Tethered shooting is connecting a computer to your camera when you are shooting so the pictures you take are downloaded to your computer in addition to the camera's memory card. The camera and computer are connected by a cable, hence "tethering". Benefits of Tethering In this … [Read more...] about What Is Tethered Shooting & Why Do I Love It So Much?
Our friends at MPB.com keep track of which cameras and lenses are the most purchased over the course of the year. This is pretty interesting to see. Perhaps you've got one or more of these collecting dust in your closet. If so, it's a good time to call MPB and see about trading them in. By buying and selling or trading different gear, you can experience a variety of equipment and refine your kit to what works best for you. I've owned over 30 changeable lens cameras in the last several years, and I don't know how many lenses, from multiple … [Read more...] about What are the most popular used cameras and lenses?
Fujifilm have announced a new camera which should be the flagship of the line. The X-H1 seems to build on the incredibly popular X-T2 by adding more pro-level features, most notably, In-Body-Image-Stabilization (IBIS). Here's a short list of features: 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III Sensor X-Processor Pro Engine 5-Axis In-Body Image Stabilization Internal DCI 4K Video and F-Log Gamma 0.75x 3.69m-Dot Electronic Viewfinder 3" 1.04m-Dot 3-Way Tilt LCD Touchscreen 325-Point Intelligent Hybrid AF System 1080p at 120 fps; … [Read more...] about Mirrorless Camera Maniac: Fuji’s New X-H1
Editor's note: This is a guest post from MBP.com. General Specs: 42MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor BIONZ X Image Processor & Front-End LSI399-Point AF System & 10 fps Shooting UHD 4K30p Video with HLG & S-Log3 Gammas 3.69m-Dot Tru-Finder OLED EVF 3.0" 1.44m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization ISO 102400 & Pixel Shift Multi Shooting Built-In Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, Dual SD Slots USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C Port & PC Sync Port Recap of a7R II Sony released their Sony A7RII in 2015 and it … [Read more...] about Mirrorless Maniac: Sony a7R III First Impressions
(Editor's note: This is a guest post from our friends at MPB.com a great place for photographers and videographers to buy quality used gear as well as to see thier old equipment.) Canon's 5D series Canon's 5D series of cameras has been revolutionary its inception. The original 5D was the one of the first full-frame digital cameras--one of the first to have a sensor the same size as 35mm film--and it was a relatively affordable price. Each iteration on from the Mark I, with the exception of maybe the Mark IV, there has been some aspect of the … [Read more...] about Canon 5D: 12 Years & 5 Cameras
The Basics Okay, so awhile back I was asked to test and review the Angler Silverbox 18" Softbox and at first, given I have the Profoto version of this as well as the Beauty Dish, I was wondering just how useful or good this guy could be. Given it was 1/2 the price, (or less), of the Profoto version I was used too, I was pretty sure the quality would be less than great and i'd try it once, and throw into a corner never to be seen again. Well...lets just say I was pleasantly surprised! Check this out; Above is a shot I took using JUST … [Read more...] about Angler Silverbox 18″ Softbox Review
Think of the monopod as one leg of a tripod, and your legs as the other two. Your hands and arms provide additional support, keeping the monopod steady. Using the monopod sounds easy, right? But it does take some practice. Here are a few tips to help you get good results: Positioning The Monopod 1.) Stand with legs about shoulder width apart, placing the monopod centered in front of your legs. Lean the top of the monopod towards you. This position works well on grass or other soft surfaces, however, the monopod might slip on smooth … [Read more...] about Tips For Using A Monopod
Levi Sim sits down with Julio Cortez who is an Associated Press photographer How does Associated Press photos work? Getting paid? What is the Dollar Rule? What is Julio's speciality? What's Julio's gear set up? Workflow when out in the feild Where to find Julio? Next Levi sits down with Mike Goldner from Astisan HD Who is Mike Goldner? Difference between labs Lighting and how it's affecting your prints Why your prints look different from your screen? Printer differences Color Space talk … [Read more...] about The Interview Podcast | Photofocus Podcast December 1st 2017
I don’t use a monopod often, but when I do I want it to feel good in my hands. It should provide stability no matter what size lens is attached to my camera, and be convenient to use—easy to open and close. I have tried several monopods through the years. Some unscrewed from a leg of a tripod, some were free standing. I never felt terribly satisfied. A couple of the monopods seemed flimsy. One did not twist open easily. Another was too heavy to carry around for a full day. I sold them all. Finally, I recently found a monopod that works for me, … [Read more...] about The Oben CTM-2500 Carbon Fiber Monopod
Photofocus partner MPB.com is a great place to sell and buy used photographic equipment. Check out their clearance specials this week! Deals Here are links to the gear shown above: Canon 5DSr body Nikon D4s body Fuji XT-1 Graphite Edition body DJI Phantom 4 … [Read more...] about MPB.COM Used Gear Specials ~ Week of November 13, 2017
I like to travel light. I have a mirrorless camera, the Fuji X-T2, and very small prime lenses. My preference is to keep the camera strap around my shoulder and to put an extra lens and some batteries in my purse or fanny-pack as I leave my hotel for a day of sightseeing. When the need arises, depending on what I plan to photograph, I will carry a tripod and possibly a backpack filled with camera gear. When I carry a backpack I think about ways to lessen the load. On The Road Like many of you, I have read the Platypod Reviews on Photofocus. … [Read more...] about The Traveling Photographer: Platypod, An Essential Tool
Most photographers will tell you that a good tripod is one of the most important equipment investments you can make for your photography. But, just owning one isn't enough to give you better pictures. You have to have the right one to fit your photography, as well as know how to use it properly. For as much time as we spend discussing and dissecting our settings, we often don't think about the physical mechanics of how we take pictures. Over the years of running photo workshops and pursuing my own photos, I have seen many mistakes and … [Read more...] about Avoid These Tripod Trip Ups!
Many agree that one of the most vexing things about photography is getting your exposure and white balance correct in camera. Sure, you can fix it in the post-processing phase if you shoot in RAW (and I generally recommend that you shoot in RAW. It makes all the difference in the world). Still, if you could make your life easier, cut down on your workload, and make sure your photos look consistently great, then wouldn’t you go that route? Seems like a no-brainer to me. That’s why I’m going to review the Impact Quikbalance 12" Gray Panel. … [Read more...] about Review: The Impact Quikbalance 12″ Gray Panel for Correct White Balance in Camera
If you have followed my posts then you probably know I am not a product photographer, nor do I typically photograph still life images, art objects or food. There are times, however, I have wanted to have some fun shooting flowers or other objects on a solid white background. That is how I came upon the Impact Desktop Shooting Table. Affordable Convenience The aluminum table with a plexiglass top provides a convenient and affordable solution for photographing smaller objects on a white background. It folds up relatively small and thin, with … [Read more...] about Impact Desktop Shooting Table
Over the past couple of years, there has been a wave of super wide-angle telephoto lenses released on the market. Ideal for huge landscapes, vast night skies, or anything your wide-angle imagination conjures up. They offer big views, exceptional sharpness, and a whole realm of creative possibilities. My personal favorite is the Tamron 15-30mm, but, regardless of the brand, with super wides, their big beautiful front element projects out a distance from the lens body. This means that you can't use traditional threaded filters that screw on the … [Read more...] about Product Review: Haida 150 Series Insert Filter and Holder System