Nov 05, 2016
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It has been about two weeks since my last wedding, and while I am wrapping up album designs and other miscellaneous items from the season, I am already writing to-do lists for what to do during the doldrums of the off-season.  Luckily I have two weddings in December, but after that I will be retreating to my home office until the snow thaws.  Here is a list to help other photographers on things to do when business slows down.  Looking to start a photography business?  Here is a list to help you answer the question, “How to run a photography business?”

How to run a photography business

 

  • Send in your gear for maintenance and cleaning
  • Update your website and marketing materials
  • Create a blog schedule
  • Create a marketing campaign and schedule for seasons, holidays, and promotions
  • Network, network, network
  • Reach out to other vendors and do some cross-promotion.  Take photos of their product and services. read more
Sep 22, 2016
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Sometimes as a photographer, I get to act like a magician.  While the photo below wasn’t the greatest “trick” I have ever created, it was fun to envision it and make it happen.  Whenever I shoot, I look for geometric shapes, lines, perspective, light, and darker backgrounds.  I like shooting against darker backgrounds so the bride’s face and dress are the brightest part of the photo and the background isn’t distracting.  If done the opposite, the background becomes blown out and can be brighter the subject.  Who wants that? Check out our behind the scenes with the Profoto B2.

When I saw this bridge at Wyndgate Golf Club in Oakland Township, I knew that I wanted to use it for several wedding portraits.  It was high noon and full sun on their wedding day – not the ideal conditions for a photographer.   See any clouds in the blue sky?  Me neither.  While the bridge and location is pretty and serene, I found the trees to be a bit to distracting.  Instead, I wanted to mute the whole image and make the bride a groom pop.  Enter: off camera flash!  Brides: if your photographer advertises that they are a “natural light” shooter, run!  That is a marketing scheme for saying they haven’t learned flash or that it is too complicated.  In my opinion, it comes down to laziness.  Flash opens up a world of artistic opportunities.

Anyway, I brought in my trusty Profoto B2 with a 30 degree grid on it.  My settings were used to cut as much of the natural light out as I needed: ISO 50, f/8, 1/2500 sec.  That allowed me to expose the lake and background as you see it.  Then, I added in the flash to illuminate the couple.  Edit out my assistant and the distracting white poles and the reflections, and within a few minutes, you have beautiful piece of art to hang on your walls.  More behind the scenes with the Profoto B2.

Behind the scenes Wedding photo on bridge Before and after wedding photo with Profoto B2

As beautiful of a photo as this is, it isn’t really that difficult to do.  With a little vision and knowledge of how the camera works with flash, you can create stunning images like this, even in midday sun.  More behind the scenes with the Profoto B2.

There are tons of reviews out there for the Profoto B1 and B2 lights.  While I am not looking to give an in-depth review, I will say, the Profoto B2 is by far one of my best purchases (next to my first full-frame camera, 70-200mm, and Sigma Art lenses) that I have made in the nine years of my wedding photography career.  It is light, portable, powerful, and dummy proof. Any idea you have that includes an off camera flash, the Profoto B2 can handle it.  Yes, the B1 has more power and is more versatile if you have two of them since there is no cord…but for the way I work I have found the B2 to do just fine.  Read on for more behind the scenes with the Profoto B2.

Thanks for reading my behind the scenes look at one of my favorite images from Jeff and Gina’s wedding.

Nov 07, 2015
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About two weeks ago, I picked up the Profoto B2s after much debate.  While every photographer and gear junkie knows the struggle – do I get the B1 with one more stop of light and no cords?  Will I find the battery pack restricting? …maybe I will just buy both the B1 and B2!  – I ultimately went with the B2s for the following reasons:

  • One stop of light can be picked up easily by changing the ISO
  • I liked how light and small the heads were…and I think my assistant will too.
  • I envision my assistant on a wedding day being more comfortable wearing the battery pack and holding onto a monopod or light stand with a tiny little light than the bulky B1.
  • It is dummy proof (so are the B1s, but anyone who is looking to jump from a speedlight to these should know how easy they are to use.)
  • B2s are cheaper than B1.

Even more important than which ones I got, I should mention why I made the jump:

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Sep 14, 2015
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This year I wanted to add a new dimension to my photography and a new tool in my creative tool belt.  After taking a workshop with one of my favorite photographers, Scott Robert Lim, I decided to invest further in my education of off camera flash.  If you have been following my posts on Facebook and Instagram, you might have seen some dramatic bridal portraits that have incorporated flash.  These portraits and the flash set ups used add a sense of depth and drama to the image and the wedding day.  (I actually did a video tutorial explaining an image I created using flash, which you can check out here.  The set up is simple and the gear isn’t too expensive for the effect it creates.)

 

Today, I took some senior portraits for a friend and found an opportunity to use flash again.  Many of my portraits and wedding day shots are taken using natural light; however, when the situation presents itself (and I have a few extra minutes to set up the gear on a wedding day) I will bring in a simple lighting set up.  Let’s take a look, step-by-step, of the lighting, the gear used, and the final product.  Below is a photo in natural light.  The small stream and large rock located in it presented a great opportunity for a nice portrait.  Luckily, he was adventurous enough to wade out there without any shoes for the shot (thanks Dane!)

Senior Portrait

 

Not a bad shot, but there could be a bit more separation of the subject from the background and it would be nice to fill in the shadows from his brow.  Wanting a little more pop to the photo, I put a flash with a simple octobox modifier to camera left, dialed in, and got this shot:

Senior Portrait in a stream

 

Ok, closer but not exactly what I was looking for.  We got the separation between him and the background a bit.  I liked how the sides of the photo have more of a vignette to it, but now we have more shadows on his face because it is just one light.  I couldn’t have him turn more to his right since it would look uncomfortable, and I couldn’t move the light to the right, closer to the camera because of the stream.  Instead, I filled in the shadows with another flash, powered two stops below the main light and shot through an umbrella to get this image.

Senior Portrait Rochester in a stream

This, I can be happy with.  The subject now pops and stands out from the background, the light is concentrated more on him than the rest of the foreground, the pose is masculine and the smile is genuine.  This is a framer that mom would be happy with.

Let’s compare side-by-side to see the difference.

Side-by-side comparison of natural light and flash

Right now, being a “natural light” photographer is all of the rage, as if it is more of an organic way of shooting.  Am I a natural light photographer?  95% of the time, yes.  But there are opportunities when bringing in off camera flash produces a more appealing and classic look than natural light.  Every photographer who is comfortable knowing, using, and controlling flashes can be a natural light photographer, but not every natural light photographer can be a flash photographer.

All of the images are straight out of camera, meaning that no touchups or Photoshop has been done to them.

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