Saturday, May 4, 2013

Anatomy of a Portrait | Off Camera Manual Flash

One of my favorite techniques, now that I understand it and realize how easy it is, is off camera manual flash. My eyes were opened to this technique last September when I attended WPPI U in Portland.

This is something that I can use for a more formal portrait shoot, or I can use it for the casual playground portrait such as the one above. It's quite simple and something that I am happy to have in my arsenal.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Does the camera matter? | Even when it's a free one?

You've probably heard it countless times, the old saying that it's not the camera that matters, but rather the person behind it. The saying is only partly right.

Please read through and see how you can enter to win a camera.

Any camera needs a skilled user to produce beautiful images. I also do not believe that any camera is capable of producing great images in every situation.

This returns us to the reasons why it is important for people to hire a competent photographer, rather than to just use old "Uncle Joe". While it's true that "Uncle Joe" may have the same camera, a true photographer knows his equipment and how to use it, and it most cases didn't just pick it up at Wally World the week before.

Take me for example. I've been around photography for over 20 years now, using a variety of cameras and photo equipment. I know my camera pretty well, although I won't go so far as to say that I'm an absolute expert. Would you rather hire me to photograph your wedding or portraits, or would you trust your best friend who just decided that his iPhone wasn't good enough, and bought that mid level SLR? I'm hoping that the choice would be obvious.

I'm going to make a bold statement here. I believe that I am can make a better photograph than most average people, regardless of the camera. This isn't an arrogant statement, I know that I can make horrible photographs regardless of the camera too. It's just that when you compare my years of photography and photo industry experience with that of "Uncle Joe", there better be a clear winner. The same can be said of pretty much any professional photographer, unless of course your "Uncle Joe" happens to be a seasoned professional himself.

So, when does the camera matter? When it gives you the options, functions, and flexibility that you need from it. I enjoy the occasional long exposure waterfall photo. This type of image is pretty much impossible with most point and shoot cameras. There are so many difference in cameras these days that it is very possible for a different camera to make a difference.

What about my camera? It's not the newest camera on the market, or even the highest level at the time it was new. It's an upgrade over my previous model, and for my needs works quite well. Are there shortcomings? Certainly, as there would be with any other model. My job is to overcome those to make it work as I need it to. Rather than dwell on what I can't do, I'll dwell on what I can do with it.

Would I like to have a newer camera? You bet. Right now it's an expense that I can't justify though. I need to be able to pay for the newer camera, rather than hoping that a new camera will pay for itself. Yes, you can buy prints of my photos, you can hire me for weddings or portraits. All of those things will help me to afford the new stage of equipment, after I'm sure that my family's needs are taken care of.

So, in the mean time, I'll keep throwing my hat in the ring to try to win a new camera when I get the chance. Right now I'm entered in a giveaway from to win my choice of a Nikon D800 or Canon 5D Mark III. Oh, I'll definitely choose Canon when I win, why ruin a good thing with a Nikon. You can enter and have a chance of winning as well, it's easy and free.

Big thanks to the SnapKnot wedding photography directory for offering this great camera giveaway!