LIGHTS. Is upgrading to Profoto, Broncolor or Elinchrom from a P.C.B. Einstein E640 worth it (as a student)? I have been working in and out as a photographer in my hometown for 2 or so years now with the E640 and I love it. It has its limitations in power and is not weather resistant at all (i'm always extra careful withit). I'm moving two NY in two weeks after 3 years of savings and a lot of thinking and I felt the need to Upgrade to something more "professional". Thought's?
OMG! Do not upgrade if you are just about to move to NYC. You need every penny in your pocket. Moving to bigger lights is not what you need. You need food and metro cards and good shoes more than anything. :)
You upgrade when you absolutely need to. When you are constantly running out of power. When you absolutely need more robust lights. For now… keep rocking the PCB’s. Do not get caught up in “well, I have to look like I’m a pro with my pro gear stuff.” You can always rent if you have to and those will be on jobs that you actually have the budget to do so.
REMEMBER THIS!!! I’M GRABBING YOU BY THE SHOULDERS AND SHAKING YOU!!!! REMEMBER THIS….
You do not walk into a meeting with a potential client with your bag of gear. You walk in with your portfolio. Your portfolio and who you are gets you work. NOT your gear. No one knows what you are shooting with. You are not going to have a client walk off set once you’ve been booked just because you pull an Einstein out of your bag. REMEMBER THAT!!!
Save your money. Buy nothing else. Pour all your time and energy into shooting a new book. Your student book is going to scream “student book” so you need to shoot an entire new book as soon as you graduate. Save every damn dime you can for living and going to meetings.
DO NOT BUY THOSE EFFING LIGHTS!!!!!!!!
Good luck in New York. It’s my favorite city in the world. It will eat you alive but it’s worth it. Go for it.
sometimes i think this whole rejection of DSLR thing you are on right now is more about you trying to be 'different rather than better' being different for the sake of GETTING better is one thing. being different for the sake of being stubborn teeters on annoying. If you "love Canon full frame sensors" than who cares how much it weighs? You are now carrying one giant ass camera and 2 tiny cameras across 4 large bags, when you used to only carry 2 DSLR's. your hate for dslrs seems unreasonable.
First… I don’t hate DSLRs. There’s no reason to hate them. They are good tools. They are great tools. 95% of this industry is held on the shoulders of DSLRs.
When I got my first x100 I wasn’t searching for a DSLR replacement. When I got the X-Pro1 I was thinking it might be the DSLR killer and that wasn’t the case. As time went by though I found myself reaching for a small fuji more than the DSLR. I *enjoy* using the Fujis. DSLRs are appliances to me. Like a stove or a washer or a fridge. They’re just “things”. The Fujis though feel like they have soul. They excite me.
Once I started to see my Fuji stuff getting printed and really saw, in print, that the DSLRs I’ve been using don’t give me a substantial jump in image quality I began to realize that the DSLR is dead. For me at least. A lot of other people are finding the same thing for them.
They are lighter. They are more compact. They are easier to carry all day and easier to travel with. They are less obtrusive. They are more interesting looking than a DSLR. They have sparked more conversations from strangers on the streets to clients in my studio. And who has a DSLR? Everyone.
That brings us to your question of whether or not I’m just doing it to be different. That is part of the equation. Not the main part. Not even half of the equation. But it does factor in. Everyone has a DSLR. From moms to grandpas to commercial clients to teenagers to pro’s, etc. Nikon. Canon. Nikon. Canon. Sony. Canon. Nikon. Pentax. Canon. This thing. That thing. On and on and on.
I’m out in the world doing my thing but I’m firmly planted in the photography industry as well. I’m the type of person who wants to go find his own way of doing things. I want to find my own little path in this world. When everyone zigs I’m going to zag. Etc.
My hotshoe fell off of my X-Pro1 last year and I let it sit like that for a few months. I finally got around to sending it in to get fixed and when it came back… that’s when the last nail in the DSLR coffin was hammered down. I liked the X-Pro1 but I didn’t love it like I did the x100. When I picked it up out of the box when it returned from service… I missed it. I couldn’t believe how much I missed it. I love that camera. And that was it. DSLR is dead. Boom. Done.
Phase? I’ve written about that thing in length. IN LENGTH. I’m not going to go into those details again. I just used it on a job last week. I transferred a few photos to my iPhone and texted a few back to Meg to show her what I was working on while out of town. Meg is around a lot of photography and a lot of photographers but she doesn’t eat and breathe and sleep the stuff. She knew immediately they were from the Phase. She can see it.
It’s big. It’s expensive. It’s heavy. It’s not the most comfortable camera in the hands. It’s slow. It sucks at ISO’s above 200. But…. O. M. G. When you nail the shot… it’s unbelievable. I say that to say again… Quality between my Fuji’s and Canon’s? Not a big difference. Between those and the Phase? Massive difference. Massive.
So I’m Fuji and Phase right now. Completely different working cameras than I’ve used for years. Completely different from many working photographers. Completely different feel and experience when using each system.
Being a pro is about many things. There are many many many things that go into the life of being a photographer. The tools you choose is one of those things. I’m changing tools lately. I’m refining what it is I want to do with my photography for the next ten years and I’m changing the tools in my bags that will get me there.
And being different? It makes a difference. It does. In a number of ways. From the subjects in front of your camera to the client’s hiring you to the way you think as a photographer. It’s not always a HUGE difference or a defining difference… but a difference all the same and one that is well worth it to me to keep going down this path. And as folks bicker and complain about DSLR this and DSLR that… I’ve snuck out the back door and I’m off to do my own thing.
Zack, my website content/portfolio, which is my most public facing image, is years old and not an accurate representation of my current work, but I have no time to update it because I have a bunch of kids, a wife, I'm busy, I stubbed my toe, and Game of Thrones is on. I could wake up an hour earlier a few days a week to find some time or or spend less time goofing off online, or I could spend that hour thinking about why I can't wake up an hour early. In short: should I buy a x100s? Fuji.
Meg. Is that you?
Hello Zack, Have you abandon your website as far as photographic content? Seems you occasionally update your blog but apart from that it seems pretty outdated... Just curious! I'm sure it has a lot to do with the other million things on your plate!
It’s totally because of a million other things on my plate right now plus having four kids from 4 to 14 and an awesome wife and running a business and, and, and…
I just shot a job this past weekend in Arizona. I really want to blog that job but I can’t until the client releases the first part of it on their schedule. So that job gets delivered and then put on the back burner until I have the go ahead to blog it.
What happens from now until then is four more jobs will be shot that I’ll want to blog. Each of those will have a different timeline of when I can show them. Case in point. I start a three day campaign tomorrow. That won’t get released until next month some time so I have to sit on those. I shot an editorial job three weeks ago that I’m still waiting for the magazine to print before it can go on my site. I’m still 60 days from that hitting the streets.
I have stuff from a year ago that I can now blog but I’m busy on the here and now stuff that I just don’t have the time to sit and get them ready for the web. I know it seems simple. The thing is I don’t like to just blog a photo or two. I like to blog with meaning and purpose and talk about this that or the other about the job. To a fault. Maybe a BTS sort of blog post or something like that. That takes me a day to sit, edit the photos, write it up, have Meg edit it, etc. That and four kids? And manage the studio? And do emails?
The good news is I don’t blog because I’m busy. The bad news is I really need to update my entire site. All the galleries. Etc. I tend to be an all or nothing sort of person so when it’s time to update something as simple as a gallery then I want to spend a day or two going through my new work, find the pacing of it, resizing them for the web, arranging them, so on and so forth.
Right now it’s 4:50pm. I have about an hour to finish packing for the job that starts tomorrow. I have my assistant out running last minute errands and getting rental gear and supplies for the job. I have to pick my oldest son up from his friend’s house. Make it to dinner. Help Meg get kids to bed. Come back to the studio for last minute things. Do the job tomorrow through Thursday. Then Friday is post production ALL day on last week’s job and this week’s job. Saturday is a bit of down time. Sunday is prep for a week long gig with Kelby training that is being shot here in ATL and in NYC. I have three days off after that.
And to blog? Update my galleries? Ummmm… I need like two weeks off to get all that done. I don’t have two weeks off. If I do then it’s family time.
I still have to do the Fuji update blog post. And I want to blog about a few trips I’ve done recently that don’t have any sort of embargo on them. And I have a new teaching site to launch this year. And… and…. and……..
Lastly… right now in my life, I want to be a photographer more than a blogger. Nothing wrong with being a blogger. I’m just not the most efficient at it. This Tumblr? This is easy. Zero photos to edit and upload. No sitting around wondering what I’m going to talk about. You all bring the content. I just bang out some thoughts on your questions while I’m waiting for a lightroom export to finish and hit “publish”. I don’t even wait for Meg to edit it… which she hates because my posts are filled with all sorts of errors. :)
Lightroom is done. Adios!
I am shooting an event this weekend, around 30 guests, for 4 hours. Nevermind that they said they wanted me to put my 5d mark ii in "Point and Shoot" mode, want the pictures before I leave,not to use my flash since it will be indoors, and worse of all, they want me to just keep taking pictures non-stop..SPRAY AND PRAY!! :( ..What I really was wondering was how to get pics without having the same pic over and over again, have you ever been in this type of situation?
That’s not photography. Know what I’m saying? That’s just taking pictures. Anyone can do that. Maybe it’s you doing that. Maybe it’s getting a check and living another day. Maybe it’s stuff you never ever ever put your name on and show to the world. It sure isn’t photography though.
Maybe you say, “No. I’m not doing that.” And you walk away. Or maybe you ditch their ideas and do your very best to bring photography to this event no matter what. You use flash. You don’t spray and pray. You give them something they don’t know is possible.
God, can you imagine an Avedon button, I bet that'll be the next progressive of these filters within camera. Bresson button, Avedon Button, Arias button?
Arias button? You push it and the camera sits down and says, “Ummmm. No clue what to do here. Where’s the coffee shop?”
Quick one Zack. I have a 5Dmk2 and a 50d. Want to have two full frames bodies. Can't afford 5Dmk3. New 6d or secondhand 5Dmk2 in your opinion?
I’d vote a 2nd 5d2. It’s good to have matching bodies so your brain isn’t constantly trying to decipher where buttons are and all that.
Do you think you'll ever move out of ATL? Where to and why? (Pssst you should move to LA)
It’d be cold day in hell before I moved to LA. :)
Meg and I dream of moving to NYC once the kids are out of the house. We also love Seattle. We dream too of being 50 something’s living the expat life in Europe. UK, Amsterdam, or Italy. Who knows. ATL is an amazing hub that allows us to go anywhere. It’s a great home base.
Canon 70-200 f2.8 Or 135 f2 Over all?
That 135 f2 is an amazing effing lens. I loved that lens. Holy crap.
Best overall? Prolly not.
The 70-200 is more practical but the 135 is more magical. :)
I noticed that a couple of times now you've mentioned that you have a Canon 6D that you use on occasion. Why the 6D and not the 5D Mk III?
I recently split part of my business off into a new business with two of my colleagues. I sold all of my Canon bodies to that business. I felt, at the time, I needed to keep one DSLR body around for something. I was faced with getting a 5d2 on clearance, the 6d, or the 5d3. I knew for a fact that Canon gear is just not that important to me so there was no way I was going to drop the change on the new 5d3. AS GREAT as that camera is… it’s not worth the money. Debated on getting another 5d2. The wifi in the 6d is what sort of drew me in. I just needed a full frame Canon. I even though about getting a 7d but I do love the Canon full frame sensors.
So, I got the 6d. It’s ok. It’s a camera. Nothing massively special about it. It’s just an appliance. If I was a full time wedding photographer I’d have moved to the 5d3. Well, if I was a full time wedding shooter I would have stuck with Nikon for their AF. But that’s just me. :)
All I have left right now for Canon gear is the 6d and my non IS 70-200 2.8, an 85 1.8, and a 35 f2. I have a Canon 580exII that will be going up for sale soon.
I’ll hold on to this kit for some videos and stuff I’m going to be doing. All of my L glass has been sold. Putting that money into the Phase kit to get a 120mm or 150mm lens for that one.