April 9, 2006 12:05 – Camera care and Maintenance
This is definitely an area where we all need to pay attention. With Digital SLR´s as opposed to film, it is essential that we keep the inner workings as clean as possible.
With film, it was easy. The emulsion of the film was kept in an “air tight” canister until safely inside the camera and at the point of exposure there was nothing but air between the film and lens.
As long as the lens was spotless, you were ok.
Nowadays, with expensive sensors, it is imperative that the interior is kept clean (unless you really enjoy post processing). Not only do you have the sensor itself, but a “low pass” filter in front of that too! If you take time out to take care of your kit it should last for a long time and you will save hours or spot removing in Photoshop etc.
April 13, 2006 13:52 – Jewellery Photography
Have you ever thought of Jewellery (Jewelry) photography as a sideline or additional income stream?
These images were taken for a website selling all kinds of jewellery and needed to be of the highest quality in order to compete with the many other sites.
You can see these images in their full glory at Diamond Earrings
Poor photography will turn visitors and buyers off without a second glance but if you can get it right and get the items to really sparkle, you are onto a winner from the off.
If you think about it, the possibilities are most definitely there. All you need is a camera capable of macro or close up photography (advanced compact digital or DSLR) and the means to light your subject well.
You could start by promoting your services to friends and family for them to keep a record of any family jewels or documents such as;
- Engagement or wedding rings
- Family Heir Looms
- Precious or important documents
- Stamps etc.
The most obvious reason for wanting to photograph jewellery is for insurance purposes. A record of goods and ownership goes a long way to recovering the items should the unthinkable happen or at least claiming for them on your insurance in the worst possible case.
Once you have had some practice and got it right, you may want to expand out in your local area and businesses. You never know, it could lead to a healthy side income.
April 16, 2006 20:07 – Wedding Panic
Not since the days of film where the lab once (and only temporarily) lost one of our films have I had such a panic during a wedding.
I arrived, as usual, 1 hour early, with 3 camera bodies, 5 lenses, 6 Compact Flash cards, a backup hard drive, 2 speedlights, a tripod, tons of spare batteries for everything and a schedule of what I was to do.
About half way through the shoot I realised that the new Canon 5D was eating up a lot more memory with RAW due to file sizes of up to 16MB…I was already running out of card space half way through the day.
No problem, I had 40GB of hard drive with my trusty Flashtrax with which to backup some shots. So during the group shots by the pool, I loaded a 2GB CF card and started to back it up…which I then placed in my jacket pocket.
As I bent down to get a better angle of the couple, the Flashtrax fell out of my pocket, onto the concrete surrounding the swimming pool with a nasty sounding “crack”, but luckily it never went in the water.
What did happen however, was that it stopped working properly, now I had no where to back up my shots. During extremely short intervals between group shots, I tried desperately in vain to get it working to no avail….and the main ceremony and signing was about to begin.
I had practically no space left other than 2 x 512MB cards and a bit of space on some others…no where near enough to carry on.
By now I was sweating a bit and trying to think what to do and say to the couple. I was about 60Km deep into the Spanish countryside and the chances of a local store selling anything other than Tapas and foul smelling cigars was extremely unlikely let alone Compact Flash cards.
Only one thing for it, I had to switch from RAW to large/fine JPEGs….I hate shooting anything other than RAW at a wedding….but luckily, after a quick check of the cards, I had well over 200 shots left…..
By the end of the reception and the day I looked at the remaining shots …… 23 ……. PHEW … made it!
My experience of shooting weddings on JPEGs in the past, especially at high ISO´s of 500 and above in dark situations, has been quite disappointing, and I wasn´t looking forward to processing the shots.
At this point I have to take my hat off to Canon and the beautiful new 5D. The images are spot on and not a bit of noise in sight…..absolutely brilliant.
My lesson here is simple. Never to rely on hard drives but instead to carry many smaller cf cards. Therefore, I am minimising the chances of losing the bulk of my shots if I were to lose or damage a 4-8GB Cf card for instance.
Even worse, what if I had backed up all of the cards onto the hard drive and then dropped the Flashtrax in the drink? Everything gone? No way José! For me, I will in the future, stick to carrying plenty (10+) 1 and 2 GB CF cards.
A pocket full of batteries and CF cards is the way to go and I recommend it to anyone thinking of shooting a wedding.
April 20, 2006 12:03 – “Paps” out in public?
What do I mean by this? Well, with the launch of companies like “Scoopt” a while ago, where members of the public could become part time paparazzi and sell online images of famous people in any situation, I personally fear this may have opened a floodgate.
According to the British Journal of Photography a new agency called Big Pictures is heading a huge campaign to launch www.mrpaparazzi.com to 18-30 year olds in the hope of “recruiting” them.
It is being launched along with the distribution of 100,000 flyers and adverts everywhere from the back of London buses to the back of toilet doors in pubs, clubs and restaurants.
They hope to entice members of the public to upload and share their paparazzi images for a 50/50 cut of the profits.
With cameras everywhere now, from high resolution mobile phones right up to affordable DSLR’s, and more and more people carrying them, this kind of things was inevitable.
In the past, news agencies were obliged to hire many photographers, at a cost, and send them to all four corners of the globe with super long telephoto lenses in the hope of catching a major celebrity in an uncompromising situation.
This could, and probably will, mean the end of any privacy for any celebrity whether on the A list or not! With the opportunity to earning a few extra pounds to the chance of becoming a full time “pap” open to anyone, this could lead to many problems.
Picture the scene, London on a typical day or night with not only the press but Joe Public hounding the rich and famous to the point of “extinction”? Could this mean film stars, actors and musicians staying off the scene in general? Will it lead to more and more court cases as drunk members of the public harass anyone and everyone for the chance of a “scoop”?
Whereas in the past people may have had a little decorum when spotting someone like Noel Gallagher on “the razz”, the chance of earning good money for a photo could lead to the odd “fisticuffs” as mobile phones are shoved in his and other people’s faces.
Members of the public can even sign up for text alerts whereby they spill the beans on who is doing what, to whom and where!
The agency does, however, give very strict guidelines as to what will be acceptable as a useable image and what “could” get the photographer into serious trouble for invasion of privacy etc, so beware!
It will be interesting to see how this pans out but personally I think it is poorly thought out, greedy, quite unethical and could become extremely problematic.