Why Every Photographer Should Lose “Weight”

why-every-photographer-should-lose-weight

If you do wedding photography year after year, the physical labor takes a toll on your body. Photographers often carry multiple camera bodies, along with multiple lenses, flashes/studio lights, tripod/monopods and other accessories. Wedding after wedding, we’re carrying fifity to sixty pounds of equipment – plus we’re on our feet all day long!

I remember carrying all my gear and hiking half a mile to a mountain-top ceremony in Muir Beach. It was exhausting, and I knew I couldn’t carry on like this for years. So, for the past few years, I’ve focused on shedding equipment weight and improving efficiency, while delivering the same quality (or better) results.

Here’s what my toolbox looked like in 2010:

Bodies: Nikon D3, 2 Nikon D700, D300, D90

Lenses: 24-70, 70-200, 17-35, 35, 50, 85, 105 Macro, 18-55, 19-35

Flashes: 3 SB-900, SB-800 and SB-600

Accessories: Tripods, monopods and other accessories

As you can see, I had overlapping lenses and camera …

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On Location Lighting With Speedlites Part 1 – Portraits

© Casey Fatchett Photography - www.fatchett.com

I like to travel light. Maybe it’s because I spent many years working without an assistant. Also, as I grow older, I don’t really like carrying a lot of equipment. You know what I mean, right? Aches and pains aren’t fun. So, instead of hauling hundreds of pounds of studio lighting equipment I decided that I would create a system for using my speedlites whenever I had to go on location – whether it’s for weddings, portraits, headshots, or fashion shoots.

Here’s what I use on my shoots:

• Speedlite (or two, depending on the size of the group or if you want a rim light) • Wireless Trigger (I use a Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and Flex TT5) • Light Modifier (beauty dish, softbox, umbrella, etc.) • Light Stand (or even just a monopod). I have even held the flash away from the camera with one hand in a pinch. The most important thing …

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A Wedding Photographer Reviews the Leica Monochrom

“Be quick, but don’t hurry.” – John Wooden, former UCLA basketball coach

I love this quote and I think it fits perfectly with photography.

I started out with Rangefinders in wedding photography. Partly because those are the tools I had but also because I loved the intimacy I could achieve with a Leica due to it’s small size.

I’ll probably get some flack for this from film lovers (hey, I’m one too) but with their new Monochrom  – black and white 18mp digital Rangefinder, Leica has put the “Tri-X” back into digital photography. Perhaps they’ve even put the tried-and-true love of black-and-white back into wedding photography.

I think there’s a different thought process with black-and-white photography versus color photography. With the Monochrom, I don’t have the mindset, “I’ll just convert to black-and-white during post processing,” which can sometimes be lazy. I find myself taking time to think about the image before creating it, just …

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The Canon 1DX: Geek-Out Product Review

Rather than beat around the bush with a long, meandering introduction and make you meticulously read all the way to the conclusion, I’ll just come right out and say it.

The Canon 1DX is the best camera I’ve ever used. Hands down. By far.

Ok, now that that is out of the way, I’ll get down to a few of the specifics — the things I love the most about it and a few of the things I wish Canon would fix/change. While I’ve been very impressed by the 1Dx, I firmly believe there is no such thing as the perfect camera and the 1DX is no exception.

Canon 1Dx, 1/640th, f2, ISO 1,000, 50mm

 

A few words about the nature of this review. First, this review won’t get into pixel peeping. There have been plenty of those out there, and a quick google search will net you plenty of 100% crop comparisons examining …

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A Real Life Review of Pocketwizards

This started as a real life review of Pocketwizards.

Basically it said, “Pocketwizards are bulletproof and if you know the tricks, they work over 95% of the time.” And then last weekend happened. Over the course of two weddings, three of my eight wizards broke.

One of them – a Mini TT1 model – broke during the rainiest and most humid wedding of the year. I accidentally overtightened the plastic shoe and by the time I realized it, the humidity and overcranking combined to cause the Pocketwizard‘s plastic shoe to jump off its track. Over the next day and a half, I managed to drop a Flex TT5 model, snapping the plastic off of its shoe, and then the battery door on another Flex TT5 snapped off completely. I’m still not sure how that happened.

Thankfully, I had backup gear, and aside from some minor frustrations, the shoots continued without a hitch. I shipped the …

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How to Select the Right Light and Cameras for Every Shoot

All photo shoots were not created equal. To select the best camera equipment for every shoot, consider a few important details. Here’s my gear selection process:

Determine the shoot location Identify the lighting scenario Research the subject thoroughly Storyboard the desired mood and select the lighting that will best convey that feeling. Carefully consider which camera body and lenses are necessary to capture different angles desired for each shot.

Controlled Light in Studio or On Location

If I am shooting in studio or I simply want more controlled light on a location shoot, I have a variety of lights that I pack. Much depends on the mood I am trying to achieve. I use Broncolor and Profoto heads and packs as my main light sources and use a variety of softboxes, umbrellas and diffusers to mold and shape the light to my liking. I sometimes use strip lights because they produce a very narrow output of light …

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Your Wedding Photography Business with The Youngrens

In this video shot at WPPI, San Diego PUG Leaders Jeff and Erin Youngren share their background as a photography business, their tips and tricks of a wedding day, and how their love for people has impacted their business and Pictage User Group.

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How to Set Up for Corporate Headshots (Video)

Corporate portrait photography isn’t the most glamorous aspect of photography.  The backgrounds are typical, the posing is reserved, and the lighting techniques are far from creative.  However, it can be a very nice income stream for a professional photographer and for a wedding photographer like me, it’s typically a week day shoot so rarely does it conflict with my main income stream.

All it takes is a little bit of gear, a little knowledge of lighting, and a professional attitude.  In my very first video podcast, I’ll be demonstrating my portable corporate head shot set up.  If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear them.  Just post them in the comments section below.

Oh, and please excuse my tennis ball obsessed Border Collie, Murphy, who makes several guest appearances during the making of this video.

My Corporate Headshot Setup from Thomas Lester on Vimeo.

Here’s the list of gear used in …

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Guess that ISO – A Lesson in Film and Digital Grain Structures

So I have a little game I first played with Elizabeth Pratt from Canon. The game is called “Guess that ISO”. We are going to play it here today. For those of you who are not professional photographers, ISO is the sensitivity rating of the film or chip in the camera. Lower ISOs are best in bright lighting conditions and higher ISOs allow for proper exposure in low light situations.

Here is the image we are going to work with. It was shot with a Canon 1D Mark IV. This is the final image with various adjustments and increased noise reduction etc. I just wanted you to get a feel for the image we are working with.

The Fine Print:

The zoomed in detail images below have only one adjustment applied. I have to be upfront here, I am not going to show you the original image with no noise reduction because that …

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What Lenses to Use When

Canon 5d mkII with 50mm f1.2 L lens.

“What lenses should I use and when should I use them?” I get this question a lot. Especially since many people know I’m exclusively a prime lens user. For those that are new to photography a prime lens is one that doesn’t zoom. It’s one focal length only. However, I think the “which lens” question applies to prime and zoom lenses. Before I get into the details of why I choose the lenses I choose, let me state that there isn’t really any right answer. This IS art after all. Let me also say that I’ll be talking about lens choice generically. I’m not talking about brands or specific models. I am talking about the internal dialog I have when I step into a situation and I ask myself, “what lens do I want to pull out of my bag?”

There are …

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