Ask me anything
If you have a site already, start posting your best work as it comes around. If you don't have a site already, look into lovely hosting engines like Squarespace or Wordpress. I have Squarespace. Their new engine is fantastic for building websites. The cost is relatively low.
What I will recommend is having a fair amount of content up there to begin with. Also, make sure it looks the way you want to before you tell everyone about it. Your most important move is your first one, when you tell everyone you have it. If it doesn't interest them the first time, they will probably not come back. If you hook them initially, there is a much better chance you'll have more people come back and follow your work. The same goes for facebook pages - don't start one with only one image on there.
Hey Charlton! I've been consumed by a really hectic wedding season for a few weeks. I had a gander, it looks absolutely fantastic. I'm rather impressed, friend. I will give you a more detailed critique in a few weeks, but I think you have it mostly in the bag. Well done on the stellar work. :)
I edit in Lightroom 4. Convert the picture to black and white, then start to play with the tone curve panel. Bring the lowest point up to raise the blacks, or the highest point down to fade the whites. Depending on how you curve the line, you will adjust contrast in certain tonal regions of the picture too. So have fun with that!
Whoaaa. Ok. So. My editing software (Lightroom 4) is not the reason one gets good photos.
Good photos come in camera with patience, composition, skill and moment. Then after that you can help the good photo be be a bit better by making it pleasing to the eye in post, but you shouldn't need post processing to wow someone.
I'm sure, and hoping, what you meant to ask was which program I use to make my post processing "so good." Well I've answered that, but again, it's not so much about instagoodness with a program. You need to learn it and find your "voice" when it comes to post. No pain no game, I guess.
"and how did I get them?"
I ordered LR4 through Adobe online. If you're wondering how I got my pictures. Well. I shoot a lot, and wait a lot, and compose/anticipate/have a lot of fun with it. Unfortunately it takes tens of thousands of images to figure these things out and find yourself.
I'm a super massive fan of the 35mm f/1.4L. It's only great if you're shooting gigs where the band comes right up to the apron of the stage, or ones where it's smaller venues where you can do some moving and get close. If you want to shoot more festival stuff with bigger stages where they are far away, get the 135mm f/2L. Those are expensive lenses, though... Perhaps you should get an 85mm f/1.8?
Whatever you do do, just keep it below f/2.8. The focal length is going to depend on what you want to shoot.
Hey Anonymous. It really depends on what you have already and what you want to shoot. I'm going to assume that you have a kit lens already. Based on that, I would go for the 50mm f/1.4. It's a fantastic fantastic lens. It's design is a bit better than the sigma and focuses really fast. I use it all the time. It will be perfect for portraiture for you! Good luck with it! Also, yes yes yes.. I want to come and visit Brazil. Maybe in a few months. ^^
I do shoot Concerts and Couples, and a lot of other stuff too. I guess I post mostly those two areas on my social streams. They are what I spend most of my time on at the moment, though. I will be trying my hand at fashion/editorial/commercial soon to feel it out, but I think I will always be a people person.
i don't prefer one over the other. They are both so different. Both have their pros and cons. I guess it's whatever mood I'm in which might dictate which one I prefer in that moment. In the end, I really love both working with couples or shooting live gigs.
I started shooting couples after I did my first wedding. There's just something about the connection between the pair you're shooting that really attracted me to it. It's different to straight up portraiture; you get to play off the chemistry between the two - and that effects every shoot differently. So I enjoyed it, got more inquiries, and just kept booking couple's for shoots. I showed people I was shooting couples and they just came to me. You really just have to put yourself out there and show people the work you want to do.
Regarding concerts: I'm a musician, so it seemed a natural environment to be shooting in. I've played guitar since I was seven, and can jam away on the drums/keys/bass if I'm into it. Growing up I thought I would go into music after graduation and start a band and tour and what not. Maybe I'll still try it out? Who knows? Anyway! I go to a lot of gigs, and when I started photography my camera came with me wherever I went. In Victoria, there aren't really strict rules for bringing gear into gigs, so I was able to shoot almost anything if I bought a ticket. Eventually bands started asking me to shoot them, I got guest listed a lot and a few venues would sometimes let me in. Now I also contribute to a media outlet based in Vancouver who get me into bigger gigs like Coldplay. You need to be backed by a major outlet to get into arena gigs like that, because the promoter will get hundreds of inquiries by photographers/blogs/outlets for media access. I think there were about 11 of us that got into the Coldplay gig.
As far as pay goes, in the concert world, it's a bit of a wonky industry. It's going through a lot of change at the moment with the amount of fan based photography that's happening with cell phones and cheap point and shoots. Many media outlets are becoming satisfied with low res terrible images, so positions for paid photographers are drying up.
I haven't dedicated the time to figure the industry out, but I think there is a way to make a living off of it. As with becoming successful in most photographic industries like this it will take time, a lot of effort, really good business and marketing skills and smiles all the way through. Thing is, with the over-saturation of amateur photography and the amount of terrible cellphone pictures bands are constantly bombarded with, you can really shine out of the crowd it you have good work. I find that a lot of bands go on tour, and by the 50th show, they've seen themselves in every terrible type of picture and composition they can imagine. Then if you come a long and take some super fantastic, high-quality images of them, they're going to notice. This is where I've made money, through licensing the pictures I took of them for promotion to use through all of their social streams (facebook/twitter/myspace/bandcamp/tumblr/blogs/press releases etc etc) for a fee. I don't dedicate full-time hours to concert photography at all, though, but it is nice to occasionally make a few hundred dollars off of some good photos.
That's a super broad question. I'll just focus on exposing for the average gig.
If it's dark, which is probably will be, bump your ISO as high as you need to - if it's noisy turn it black and white, throw more grain on, and call it classic. An out of focus or poorly blurred shot is worthless compared to one that is great, but noisy.
THEN, open your Aperture as wide as you can if you are hurting for light. If not, you don't need a wide aperture unless you're going for that look, but it's better to have softer images - in focus - than blurred images because your shutter is at 1 second.
Lastly, control your shutter-speed as the light changes (which it will - all the time) so that you are always exposing and make sure you focus on the shutter speed/focal length rule*. It's easier to juggle this one variable than all three. Of course, if you have more light, then shoot at ISO 400 and get better shots, or f/5.6 and get sharper shots. 95% of the time you'll be hurting so hard for light that you'll be at the limits of your camera's capability and you'll need a maxed out aperture and ISO.
*The Rule: Unless you have magically stable hands, don't bring your shutter speed below the equivalent focal length when hand holding a camera. So, if you're shooting at 250mm on your lens, don't bring your shutter speed any lower than 1/250 second. If I'm really not getting any light in, I'm shooting 6400 ISO, f/1.4 @ 1/30th of a second on my 35mm f/1.4L and trying my best. Everything below that is blurry because of hand shake. Occasionally I get an image that I turn into a classic black and white.
Be more specific, yo. I can talk about concert photography all day long.
When you're shooting couples, there is no way to hide. They will always be aware of you. My couples know where I am at all times, but I keep a couple of things in mind when I work with them. Most notably it's their comfort level that makes a major difference. Be personable and real and they will stop looking at you as a photographer. Spend some time in the beginning of the shoot getting to know them and hang out for a bit. You don't have to be shooting every single second, and the last thing you want to do is rush the moment. Enjoy your time with them and they will too.
They might be aware of you, but if they lose themselves in each-other then you can be practically non-existent at the height of the moment you're striving so hard to catch. It's all about comfort and how you work with them. Fortunately, with couples it's pretty easy. Just tell them right off the bat and remind them occasionally to focus on each other.
I always find nice light, then scene, then throw them in there. I pose them very minimally, and then I throw them a couple of prompts that work into moments. I give them space to be themselves. Timing with the way you speak to them is important. You don't want to put them there and then something happens and you kill the moment by saying random things really loudly and obnoxiously.
Don't get me wrong, getting photographed is scary to most and words of affirmation are totally vital in helping them feel comfortable and letting them know that they are doing the right thing. Consider this though: if you're sitting with your girlfriend/boyfriend - In perfect light, haha - the sun is going down and you can feel your partner breathing - you share a kiss - the moment is absolutely perfect . . . and then Stranger Danger with a giant lens pops out and exclaims: "GORGEOUS, WOW GUYS, OH GOSH THE LIGHT HOW IS IT EVEN, BLAH BLAH BLAH FREAKING OUT HERE YOU GUYS!" You're being Sgt. Buzzkill. Mr Moment-Killer. The Creepy Cameraman.
You're totally anonymous, so I'm not accusing you of doing this, but I know a lot of people who do forget to give their couples a moment to just feel each-other breathe and enjoy the moment. I was one of those people when I started out.
I use Lightroom for pretty much 99% of everything you have seen of mine in the last year and a half. I just switched from LR3 to LR4 a few weeks ago. For that picture you need to play around with the Tone Curve tab in LR. Just mess around with it, you'll figure it out.
Ooooph. That requires an essay to answer. The question is too broad. First you have to argue with what it means to be professional, etc, and then how I achieved that.
Let's change this question to how I started getting paid to take pictures.
I took a lot of pictures. I took thousands of them. I posted a lot of my favourite on facebook and people started noticing that I was doing this thing: taking photographs. Eventually I took some pictures of my friends, and their friends liked it. A group of girls decided that they wanted me to take their picture, and I thought, well, sure, pretty girls, I love taking pictures; this could only be fun, right?
I took 7 or 8 of them to a park, we went hung out, through leaves around, ate ice cream, and chilled at the beach. In the end I took a ton of pictures and they had secretly gathered money between themselves to pay me. It was the greatest feeling ever that someone would pay me for doing this thing that I loved so much. Those pictures led to a family shoot, who insisted they pay me. From that point I knew I had to start charging. That family shoot led me to another family shoot, which in the end led me to my first wedding. From that point everything has been paid work - except for personal projects. Of course, that wedding led to many others and so on and so forth.
What I'm getting at here is it was a snowball effect. I seized every opportunity I could to shoot, and 10 more opportunities opened up each time. Don't be afraid to charge people for your time and artistic vision. Don't be afraid to jump into the deep end.
I don't know who you are or which question you asked first, since you're anonymous. But anyway. Hi :)
60D and the 7D are mostly the same thing. There are a few differences that make the 7D better, namely weatherproofing and a magnesium alloy body. Basically, it has a better chance of surviving rain, dust and small drops/bumps. In the end, the sensor is the same size/resolution/pixel count. The 7D is an older sensor, and and slightly better, but the 60D has newer technology and some of the attributes of a 7D sensor. The differences are not really discernible, except maybe in a lab.
I would go for the 60D, and get the better lens. The cycle on bodies is a lot shorter then the cycle on lenses... so spend money on the lenses. Get a 50mm f/1.4.
Welllll. I have the 5D Mark II at the moment, and most would argue that the D700 is the equivalent. If you take video capabilities away from the 5D2, I would say the D700 is a small bit better. It has better and faster autofocus and is just a touch better at high ISO. I find Nikon has quite an organic noise in low light.
Anyhow, everything just changed with the introduction of the D800 and the 5D3. Personally, I think the 5D3 is better than the D800 for better high ISO and for the fact that the D800's file sizes are not absurdly big (70ish megabytes). I'm getting a 5D3 pretty soon. For the same reason, I think someone who shoots tons of pictures in one go, and who shoots in low light (ie. wedding photographers), the D700 could be a better suited camera than the D800 upgrade (unless you seriously upgrade your computer, get ssd, thunderbolt, USB 3.0, super processor etc etc etc to keep up with the D800's files).
But yes, you will need to get a full-frame camera, and for that, the D700 is the all around equivalent to what I shoot.
**Before I get any haters commenting on this: all 4 of the above mentioned cameras are insane in their ability and have their place in the kingdom of photography. At this point, a very small percentage of photographers will actually be able to use the upgrades to their benefit. If I had to start from scratch I'd be pretty stoked start on either system or body.
For children at weddings the parents get to see me, and know me, and generally will trust me. I'm not just some creep with a camera. Whenever I shoot children, I try to make eye contact with the parents or speak to them. Smile. I don't ask them for permission.
If I continue to take a picture of them, and they don't mind, you're usually in the clear. They're probably not going to mind if you put it on a blog. Of course, if you sell the image of their child and it gets put in a magazine or on a billboard, then you'll have serious issues.
For the most part, people will ask you to take a picture down if they are not happy with it before they seek legal measures. It hasn't happened to me yet. If you don't have the guts to approach the parent and strike a conversation about their child, then you shouldn't really be photographing them. The same with almost any portrait and candid scenario, you have to use your discretion. Sometimes I make the right choice, sometimes I don't, but I am learning what to say to who and when.
Filipe is awesome. Don't be concerned with what the shutter is rated to. My 5D Mark II is rated to 150 000, but there are people who have reported 300 000+ on the shutter and they are still working. That being said, some people have had shutter failure at 50 000 or less. I must be at about 60 000 on my current body which I got a few months ago, and it's still going strong. Ultimately, your warranty should cover you if it breaks, so shoot it a lot in the first year. (And the second, and third, Always shoot a lot ;) )
Be yourself! Be professional at all times, too. Show that you are eager to learn, and proactive. Show passion. People buy right into passion. Dress nicely.
Tape is really good. Scuffy black duct tape. Would you buy a camera that was taped up and scuffed? Probably not, so people won't be inclined to steal it. Living in South Africa, before I was a photographer, you learn a lot about not flaunting things and being street-wise. Don't walk around with valuables showing. Wear clothes that don't make you stick out. No brands. No valuables. Also, talk to some friendly locals and ask them what areas of town are safe or not.
Definitely this picture of a duck: http://bit.ly/KDnsh8
Actually, I really have no idea. I'm pretty sure I decided I wanted to be a photographer before I even saw my first pictures. I was absolutely enthralled by looking at the world through my 35mm film camera viewfinder. There was something magical about it. Insta-addiction. At that point I didn't know what I would shoot professionally, but I knew that i would try my hand at whatever came my way.
It all depends on your budget. In my eyes, the 50mm f/1.4 is perfect. It's sharp, durable, fast to focus, works better in dynamic light than the f/1.8 and is perfect for portraiture on a crop sensor. Invest in the f/1.4 and you won't have to reinvest again if you ever shoot professionally - unless you're like me and drop it off a ledge during a riot***. The f/1.8 is fantastic plastic, but I just know you're going to want to upgrade in the future. ***I never drop lenses, ever, but in this case it was my life or my lens.