Okay so, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this blog and I realized that I’ve been talking about a lot of stuff with in photography and things I do but have forgotten about where it starts.  The Equipment!

Wait, wait… I know the equipment doesn’t make a good photo good.  Great photo’s can be taken on almost anything, but the equipment does change what you can do with the image.

So let’s start at the begining… you walk into the camera store… the sales person approaches…

What is the plan, what are you going to be taking pictures of?  What are you planing of doing with them? How much versatility do you need?  What’s the budge?

Hopefully you have been thinking of some of this stuff and have an idea.

So let’s be realistic, your budget is the key to it all, and frankly I would always say buy the best you can for your budget.

If you need small and quick and your plan is just to do snap shots that can go on face book or be small prints, don’t waste your money on a DSLR get a point and shoot.  You’ll just be frustrated with anything else.

Now here is the big questions start in.  Getting a DLSR.  What do you need?  Well I’ll be honest Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, Sony….. at this point they are all good.  Mirrored or Mirrorless?  Well that’s a bigger question.  Mirrorless is a great option these days, they are much smaller and more cost effective.  Great for travel!  The image quality is really good to, many pro’s I know are using them for some commercial work.  But they do have draw backs, they are slower and most do not have live viewfinders.  This is not a big deal for portraits or landscapes but they are not great for action as you lose view of your subject while it captures the image.

And do you need to buy the latest and greatest?

Frankly, no most of the time you can get an older model and save some money.  Unless you are planing to shoot in dark spaces without flash, you will not notice much difference.    As a pro I am always concerned with the dark spaces I’m headed into so I’m alway looking to upgrade (every generation seem to get much better at this).  But my first DSLR was a Canon 20D, and for the average person looking to shoot their family and friends at a sporting event or family function it has all the resolution you will ever need.  And it only shot at 10.1 megapixels, with an APS size sensor.  Try to avoid the it’s newer, it’s better, I have to have it thing.

I always suggest to my friends that they save money with an older camera that meet’s all their needs and then spend that saved money on good glass.  That’s where it all comes out these day.  The camera’s have been great for years and so are some of the lens’s out there.  There is a reason that some lens’s are cheap and some are expensive.  They are the difference in sharp and sharpish pictures.  Spend your money there, you will be happier with your images!

So am I going to tell you what brand to get, HELL no!  I’m a Canon guy, have been for years and probably will always be.  But not because I think it’s better than the rest, (don’t tell the Nikon guys that).  It’s about how it feels in your hand, and how they layout the buttons.  Canon works in my hand and with my style.  Go to the store, find what’s in your budget and hold it like your taking pictures.  and not just for 5 minutes.  Walk around the store with it, pretend to take pictures of the bags and batteries and lights and what ever is around.  And then do it with the next one until you are sure it’s for you.  It’s not like a coffee, your going to have it for years so make sure your getting the best one for you.

Get out and take some pictures!

Snowy Owl sitting on a hay bail

Snowy Owl sitting on a hay bail


Why Team Portraits

Team Portraits are an interesting thing.  There are so few that are ever done well!  There are only a few people out there who like to do them, but there are a ton of people who will do them.  But really, I’m sorry if you don’t like what you do it shows.

It drives me crazy.  And well don’t even get me started on those large companies that treat their clients like a number and have made the set up basically a paint by numbers set.  Not to mention that the actual “photographers” are typically hired with no experience and are paid horribly considering the profit these companies make.

So why do I do them, its fun.  Sure I have to run the kids through quick just like everyone else. Where is the fun you ask?  It’s in the kids, there silly and quirky.  Some having good days some having bad days. Just think about the things they say sometimes.   And its my job to get a great photo of them.

I’m dad, and I know how what it’s like to have my kid come home with her photo’s and be proud of how she looks.  But I’ve seen it go the other way to.  And it make me furious.  These day even more so.  Sure with film the photographer didn’t know what they got, but now really, a 1 second glance confirms yes it looks good or let’s try one more before sending them off.So all that said, what makes a great portrait.  Well first off every one need to be set on creating great images.  The photographer, the person in front of the camera, the coaching or training staff on had to help, any assistants on set and finally the parents that came out.

Supreme Cheerleading Inc, Cheerleader, Team Portraits, Photography

Now how are we setting up the shot, What backdrop? What style of lighting do you want/need?  Are you doing action?  How are you doing your post production?  Yip, I pretty much have all of this planed, yes even the post.  My post production plan determines some of my shooting plan.

The lighting is probably the biggest key to it all.  If it’s not lit properly it’s not going to work out.  And if your going to be doing action shots you need to ensure your gear can get you a fast enough shutter speed and will recycle fast.  Now when I’m setting up, I know I’m going to light is a particular way.  I like open light for this type of photography.  Ya a key light is a good thing.  Maybe a 1/2 stop or 1 stop higher than second light but not much more.  These are happy moments, and we are trying to make people look good.  Mood and shadow are great for portraits, but not really what we are looking for here.

Dancer, Green, Portraits

Do you need faces?  Yes and no.  I would never do a full set with out a face, but there is nothing wrong with a shot like you see below.  It’s just to cute!  And more importantly there were 5 other images of this group that showed faces and smiles.

Supreme Cheerleading Inc

Supreme Cheerleading Inc, Cheerleader, Team Portraits, Photography

Weekly photo challenge: inside

Here we go again! I found this awesome blogg “weekly photo challenge”. I think it’s a grand idea. So I though this weeks theme was great.

In Puerto Rico I found this building. The access is incredibly limited! In fact I could only (and just barely) get my hand and camera inside it.

Not even sure how I found it, the whole in the boards caught my eye and it sent me exploring further. But in the end I could only find a slightly bigger whole.

For next week I’m looking a producing a new piece, assuming I can find the time. And with it I will go through my process from concept to print for the image.

Hope you all enjoyed my images this week!