X100 or Xpro-1? Is the Xpro-1 with 2-3 lenses worth the extra scratch?
That’s a tough one to answer. I have both and love both. The x100 is my baby. I’m very attached to that camera and would pull it from a burning building. That’s not saying it’s a “better” camera. It’s just a soulful camera. Combine the x100 with an xPro and that 35mm lens and it’s a solid small bag of gear for travel and daily shooting.
How would you react if you were threatened by some lame lawyer for $300,000 because your awesome photos were apparently not good enough? Do you feel that this could be a decline in the industry if there is any success on the client/lawyer's behalf? I certainly would never shoot a wedding if I knew there was a possibility in me losing money for providing a solid product. That last part was a statement, wasn't it?
Jack, great idea this. My question is do you think there is a good market for a wedding photographer that only shoots black & white?
Thanks for the questions Juss Jullespie! :)
I’m not sure if there is a “good” market or not for it. While I’ve shot a ton of weddings with my friend Marc and have been involved in the wedding photo industry as a speaker and teacher the fact is I’ve never gone out and run my own wedding business.
While I certainly have ideas and opinions on the matter I haven’t ever pulled the trigger on putting them out in the real world as a real business so I can’t tell you.
I can say, that for me, I sure as hell would try to find that market. If I was starting my own wedding business I’d want to stand out from the crowd as much as humanly possible. Would my business thrive or fail? So many factors go into that that have nothing to do with the style you shoot.
I would have to guess that the B&W only wedding market would be a pretty small niche though or there’d be tons of photographers doing it. Maybe it just takes one person to do it really well, find the market, and win a shit load of WPPI awards for it to be the “next thing”. Because whatever wins big at WPPI is going to be duplicated 1,000,000,000 times over. :)
If you went after a B&W only market it’s because you really, really, really believe in it and you can sell it. You would have to find the exact type of clients that would mesh with your vision. You’d have to be willing to shoot fewer weddings and do so for more money each so you could live.
Hi Zack, how do you get skin look really soft? I tried to stick to your saying "the larger the light source the softer the skin" and put a softbox or umbrella really close to my subjects. On some however you still see unflattering skin (looks worse in the pics than for real). Any tips? Thanks!
The larger the light source…. the softer the light. NOT the softer the skin.
If a subject has wrinkles, pimples, or other blemishes that aren’t smooth and you are wanting to diminish the look of that in your photo it isn’t so much about the size of the light source as it is the position of the light source. A large light source in a good position will take care of a lot of blemishes.
Keep your light source (like a large umbrella or softbox) directly over your head while you are shooting. The more it goes off to one side or the other then the more likely it will begin to show blemishes because anything raised on the skin will cast a shadow or shadows will show up in the bottom of wrinkles.
Flash. Photography becomes a whole new monster when you put a flash on. Quite frankly it scares me. Is there anything you suggest for those of us that don't use a flash to get our feet wet and start learning?
I can honestly tell you that there is nothing to fear with flash. Unless you get a power pack near water. Then you could be in trouble. :)
Flash is easy. I know how intimidating it can be. It turns on for a fraction of a second and then it’s gone. You can’t see the results until after the fact. If you don’t know how to control it then you fear it and you leave it alone. There is nothing to fear. It’s really quite simple and once you learn the foundation of it then you’ll say to yourself one day, “That’s it? That’s all there is to it?”
When your flash fires and hits your subject you have two main ways of controlling that exposure. That would be aperture and flash power. Aperture (or f-stop) controls the amount of light entering your camera. Shutter speed determines the amount of time it enters your camera. You can not control the time the flash is on so you can’t control that exposure with shutter speed. It has to be controlled with aperture.
The other way to control it is through flash power. Full power (1/1). Half power (1/2), 1/4 power. 1/8th power. Etc. Flash power is simply the dimmer switch of a flash. Turn it up and you get more light. Turn it down and you get less. If your subject is over exposed then you turn the flash power down. If they are underexposed then you turn the flash power up.
Head on over to David Hobby’s blog, Strobist, and work through lighting 101.
Sign up for Kelby Training and watch videos there. I have a DVD as well that walks you through the entire process but you’ll have to go looking for it. I won’t sit here and sell it to you. :)
How do you approach people/orgs for personal proyects without giving them the impression that you are "working for free" ?
There’s a few ways of looking at this…
You’re trying to build a personal project and/or new portfolio and you are hoping that a company or organization will give you access to do such a thing. I tend to gravitate toward offering my photography for free in exchange for the access that they will grant me. Sometimes I just offer free usage for X period of time. If after that time they love the work and want to continue using it then they can pay for it. Access is often currency you will work with when doing personal projects.
Other times it may be something you want to do for a for profit company. You can approach them. Pitch your idea. And put a price tag on it. If it’s a brilliant idea they may just go for it. Maybe there’s some negotiation. Maybe you do the first one for expenses only. If you are seeking some sort of monetary payment then you have to be open with that at the very beginning so expectations are managed straight away.
Think about how you would want a complete stranger to approach you with something like this. How would you want them to communicate with you? How much information would you want to have about the entire process before you even started? What’s in it for you if you give this stranger the access to what they are requesting? Is what they are wanting to do even valuable to you? Would it be beneficial to you at all or would you simply be being nice to this person to give them access and then you’d never even use what they create? Also, could you trust this person? What have they done in the past for other people? Have you proven yourself to someone else so that they can go out on a limb and trust you?
Work backwards through those kind of questions so you can offer the information before they even ask or even know to ask.
Hey Zack. Hope everything in Asia is going smooth... Also Zack i really want to thank you for creating such a great Q&A blog and also taking the time to write back to all of us here with great Q's and some Not so great. Is like having a mentor and yet not having one because there are so many of us you don't know personally. Thank you man! Really appreciate what you are doing for us. Zack my question to you is: What are the critical steps to get your work into magazines?
Glad to be of service! Hong Kong has been amazing thus far. Ate my weight in sushi yesterday and could not have been happier. :)
Your question can be read two ways. “getting your work in magazines”… Is that getting work you’ve already created into magazines or working for magazines to shoot work for them? I think I can answer both questions although I don’t seek to put previously made work in print. I’m looking to work for publications.
Your first step is to loosely (or narrowly if you can) identify your style. What is the genre of work you want shoot? People? Travel? Food? Then what is your style within the genre you want to work? Natural? Composited? B&W? Saturated color? Quiet? Loud? Subtle? Over the top?
Let’s say you shoot natural environmental portraits. Your style is fairly simple and straightforward. You’re most comfortable in color but you can work in B&W as well. You gravitate toward everyday people (business owners, chefs, local politicians, grandmother of the year, etc)
Now that you have an idea of what you shoot and how you typically shoot it your job is to identify publications that mesh with your style. You may find your are more of a fit with Time magazine and not Wired. More Rolling Stone and less XXL. Etc.
Make a list of all the publications you want to work with both locally and nationally for where ever you are in the world. Find out who the photo editors are at these magazines. Do your homework on them. You can find their names and titles in the masthead of the magazine or you can use a service like Ad Base to do your research.
Now you need to introduce your work to these fine folks. They can’t hire you if they don’t know you are alive and taking photos for a living right? If you don’t know their name they sure as heck don’t know your’s. While an editor might just find you in a google search don’t hang the success of your career on that off chance they’ll come to your web site. You need to be proactive in the introduction.
Plan your own personal advertising campaign. You need to start sending emails or mailers to these folks. Your campaign has to catch their attention. They get tons of photographer’s promos and your’s has to click. You need to be consistent with it as well. They’ll most likely not remember you on the first one. Nor the second. Or the third. You have to be consistent.
Also note that if you want to work for five magazines you’ll need to promote to 50.
There’s no science to this but consistency works. Following up works. If you can get a face to face meeting to show your work that is huge! Mailers and emails are impersonal. A face to face meeting is invaluable and personal.
Plan on spending at least a year campaigning for yourself until you start to see some kind of return. If you haven’t gotten a single call for a job in a year then you need to rethink what you are doing. Honestly look at your style and abilities as a photographer. If you mail 100 magazine photo editors and nothing happens after a year of mailers then start over. Build a new book. Build a new campaign.
Hey Zack. Can you give me some recommendations about buying used lenses? I'm about to buy a Canon telephoto. what should I do when I check the lens for the first time?
You want to make sure the front and rear elements are clean and free from major dings and scratches of course. Look through the lens to see if there are any big chunks of dust or fungus growing in there. Tiny small pieces of dust are of no concern. You aren’t buying the Hope Diamond.
Make sure the focus turns smoothly from one end of focus to the other and make sure the zoom is as smooth (if buying a zoom).
Make sure the bayonet mount is firm and doesn’t wiggle around or have any play in it. Make sure there aren’t any small screws missing from the hardware. Esp by the mount.
Make sure the filter ring is smooth and not dented. If it is then it has been dropped.
If you can shoot with it make sure it isn’t back focusing or some other such thing.
I buy all of my used stuff from KEH. You can completely trust their ratings and prices.
Hi Zack, just a quick question about your fantastic seamless white BG blog post I just stumbled upon... Will the white BG be blinking on the display if you're chimping with the highlight warning on? Is the BG actually blown out or should you aim to keep some detail? Thanks so much for all your sharing matey :-)
I blow it out completely. IF I need a bit more detail in it for some printing reason then I will pull the highlights to around 245 in levels in Photoshop.
when you hand hold your off camera flash at wedding receptions. do you keep one of those small cup diffusers on there? or are you going straight flash?
I go straight flash or use the little bounce card that is built in to them. I refuse to use a lightsphere.
A) They aren’t very efficient.
B) So many people use them that everyone who does use them ends up shooting images that look so much like everyone else using one because it’s all the same light source. We speak in light. Stand out a bit with how you use it.
Hi. I've seen some love for the $100 50mm 1.8 on here. I have it and I agree it's a great buy, but I find it incredibly difficult to get 1.8 into sharp focus for portraits. Is it because it is a $100 lens or am I doing something wrong? The shutter speed is usually pretty fast. FWIW, I'm using the 7D / 19 pt auto focus system. Thanks!
Most lenses are never tack sharp at their most wide open aperture. In theory you buy a 1.2 lens so it’s sharp at 1.8 or 2.0. A 1.8 will sharpen up at 2.0 or so. A 2.0 will sharpen up at 2.5 or 2.8 etc.
That’s not to say you can’t get sharp photos at the widest aperture of a lens. Photo nerds will talk about the sharpest point a lens will be around mid aperture range.
Olá Zach, I'm a Portuguese Wedding photographer and I’m trying to renew my website to a top level. Unfortunately I’m having a hard time finding great web designers to work with here in Portugal. Do you have any references of where to look for good web designers?
Thanks, Love your work.
I just finished looking over some of the photos on your website. I was curious to know if you edit heavily with Photoshop or do you make sure things are perfect in camera?
I do very little editing in Photoshop. Most of my work can be delivered out of Lightroom. It’s not that I have something against good post production work, it’s just not my style. I like to get it in camera or not at all. Add to that, I’m not very good at compositing and the like. I’d have to out source that if I had to do it on a regular basis. :)
I'm confused about aperture. I've read on your blog and other blogs that you'd go for 5.6 or more for shooting portraits and like f8 for shooting macro shots. I don't understand why?
Can’t remember saying this specifically. I shoot all over the place. I’m typically in the f2 - f5.6 range for portraits unless I’m shooting flash in the afternoon against a bright ambient light source. Then I’m in the 11 - 16 range.
Macro shots, of which I do very few of if ever, aren’t something I have a strong opinion about.
My studio does a lot of product work and that usually lives in the f11 to f16 range. Is that what you’re thinking about?
Zack, could you compare the AB1600 and Einstein? I've seen the 1600 on a couple of your startup gear lists over the Einstein.. I assume this is a value decision in order to put the additional $140 toward a Vagabond mini, 85/1.8 or something else.. but in your experience what does that extra $140 get you and is the Einstein worth considering over the long haul? Thanks
The Einstein is a great upgrade from the 1600 for a few reasons. One is for the faster flash duration. The 1600 is slow so I usually lose 2/3rd’s of a stop in sync speed to catch it. The Einstein allows me to go to full sync speed. It also has a color mode that gives you more consistent color from shot to shot.
The other BIG upgrade is your ability to dial it down to 1/256th power. That covers the range from an AB 400 at it’s lowest setting to a 1600 at full power. All in one head.
It’s worth the money to get that over the 1600. If it comes down to a 1600 + Mini or just an Einstein alone then get the 1600 and battery and work with that for a few years then upgrade.
I read about your camera settings, but do you have any pointers when shooting moving subjects with the x100. I am having trouble getting shots in focus.
The x100 isn’t really the best action camera in the world. Subjects moving toward you or away from you and you’re kind of hosed. Moving side to side then you can pan and shoot. But yeah, not the best for moving subjects.
so I been shooting in auto mode but really want to start shooting manual my question is if I put my camera in manual mode do I have to put my lense in manual mode?
No. “manual” on your lens is for manual focus. Unless you have an old Nikon lens that you change the aperture on the barrel. Typically there is setting to put those lenses on and you can change the aperture via the camera body.
What I’d like you to do is put yourself in the shoes of a busy photographer.
Ten years from now you are covered in weddings. You have emails and phone calls to get back to. You’re 6 albums behind on workflow. You are married. You have two kids. You have 32 more weddings to shoot for the year. You’re trying to get your blog updated. You’d love to just have a week off.
Someone emails you out of the blue about second shooting with them. You have no idea who they are. They don’t have much to show. You don’t know if they are a hard worker or just want to leech information from you and move on. You also have 5 other people asking the same thing and you can’t find much information on any of them.
You’re covered up with work. Your wife/husband is calling. You need to head out the door to make it home for dinner then you have a meeting with a bride and her mom later that evening.
How likely are you to get in contact with these people you don’t know? How much time are you going to try to spend to find out about them?
Oh. And you already have a second shooter that you know and trust and love and aren’t going to part with anytime soon.
So… this new person contacting you. How high on your priority list are they?
How likely will you even get around to replying to them? Not likely.
What’s the chance they will feel slighted and call you an asshole? Likely.
So. You are that person reaching out to someone who isn’t looking for you. How do you cut through the noise of their life to stand up and be noticed without looking like a fool? You’ve got to get on their radar. Just a cup of coffee would be a great place to start but how do you get there?
Read that other reply I made and think on it. Put yourself in the busy photographer’s shoes and how would YOU want someone to approach you?
Hi Zack, thanks so much for all the knowledge sharing. I'm at a dilemma whether to put up pricing information (I do portraits) on my website - a lot of the 'advice' online says that if customers can't find it, then they get pissed and leave because 'you're not transparent and upfront'. I did notice that you do not have any such info. Neither do some of the other pros. Why is this? What do you think about putting up pricing info on the website? Good or bad for you?
Dear Zack, what you will do if you haven’t nailed the shots in the middle of a shoot? (time is running out). Moved the light direction, change the frame angle, asked the model to pose differently, change the camera settings, change the flash power, but still haven’t come close to nail it.
How I work on a shoot whether I have 10 minutes or 10 hours.
• I start with what I know. I set up something really simple. The kind of photograph I’ve made a thousand times. I’m warming up. My subject is warming up. I get some safe shots done.
• I move on to more complex set ups in terms of lighting / composition / location as I progress through the shoot. Now that I’m warmed up I’m moving quicker.
IF I have an idea set up and I just can’t nail the image in 10 frames or less, I drop the idea. I’ve found that around the 11th frame I start getting frustrated. When I get frustrated I get mad. When I get mad I get depressed. When I get depressed all my confidence flies out the window.
"Why can’t I find the shot???? AAAAAA!!!!"
If I’m just not finding the shot with my camera that I “see” in my head I stop. I tell my subject that this scenario isn’t going to work. I move on to something else. What is that something else? Something easy. Something I know. Something I’ve done a thousand times before. I quickly start over and build up again.
Later I’ll look at those images and try to figure out why they weren’t working. Was it my light? Was it my lens? Was it my composition? Was it the subject? Why could I not make the photo I wanted to make? I learn my lesson and move on with my life.
The more you mess with it the more you get focused on it and the less you focus on your relationship with your subject. As soon as you are lost in the light/fstops/lens/ and all that you’re gone and your subject is just standing there looking at a frustrated photographer. You don’t want that.
What is a good starting price range for Weddings and Events? Should I price per 1/2 day, per hour, or per picture?
Events are good by the hour with a minimum number of hours required to book you. You could quote something like $100 per hour with a minimum of three hours. If it is a two hour event then you still get paid for three.
Weddings? That can be all over the place. I don’t know your skill or your market so it’s hard to say. Just remember that it would be hard to book two weddings in one day so pretty much your entire day is taken up with a wedding.
Stacy Reeves has a good pricing guide. Take a look at this…
Hi Zack, I loved the wedding shots on your blog. Could you please elaborate on how you ride the exposure controls on the X100 and the flash unit? I imagine I'd miss many situations by either blowing out the highlights or underexposing. "Practise, practise" is probably the answer though :)
Amazingly, the TTL on the Fuji is quite accurate from shot to shot.
I set my x100 to ISO 800, f4, 60th of a second and set the flash to 0+/-. That’s my starting point. Then I tweak the EV compensation on the flash plus or minus as needed but keeping it around 0 or +1/3 worked really well.
For the past year and a half, I have been shooting with an entry level dslr and a 50mm. I'm at a point now where I have a steady stream of lower end portrait clients. I've also had a number of possible clients who liked my work but after being told what I shoot with decided to go with another photographer. So, I think (?) it is time to start saving up to create a pro level kit. Considering what I'm shooting, do you think it is wise to build up a prodslr kit or invest in a used MF kit?
A) Don’t advertise what you shoot with.
B) Good clients should love your work. Not your camera.
C) A medium format kit isn’t going to bring clients in.
You get into a pro level kit because it makes your life easier, gives you better AF or ISO performance, and maybe because the build quality is better and can handle the stress of a heavy workload. Not because you are losing clients because you don’t have the right kind of camera.
If someone doesn’t like what you shoot with then that’s not the kind of client you want. Let them go on to someone else.
Hey Zack. I currently have a Canon Rebel t2i and I have some money saved up ($800) and I'm trying to figure out how should I spend it. I was thinking maybe getting a 5d classic because of the full frame sensor even if its 7 years old, but I also dont have any off camera light so I also would like to get maybe an alienbee and a good modifier. So my question is: Which is going to make a bigger difference in my images at the end of the day? I'm trying to make a good editorial style portfolio.
While the t2i doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, it’s a good camera that will keep you going for awhile. I’d vote to invest in lens or lights.
An Alien Bee 1600, Vagabond Mini, 8’ light stand, and 60” umbrella would be a great place to start with lighting and stay in your budget. It’s a good rig that can do a lot.
If you need a portfolio to get clients and clients to build a portfolio, where do you start? Clients or a portfolio?
You start with a portfolio. You can build a portfolio without clients.
Head out into the world with a basic idea of what kind of portfolio you want to make based on what kind of clients you would eventually like to have.
Let’s say you want to do music photography for artists and bands. Then go out there and find bands and musicians and offer them a free shoot to build your portfolio. Do the very best you can on these as though your life is depending on it.
As you build a portfolio you can then start to find clients who will hire you based on what you’ve done with these free shoots. Start small and build from there.
I bought your One Light Workshop on DVD during the intial run (love Meg's music, my husband stole the shirt). How can I load it to run on my iPad?
It’s called DVD ripping. If you promise not to share the files then I don’t mind folks doing this. If you do share the files may God send a lightning bolt up your arse! :)
I think there is a program called “hand brake” or something that will rip DVDs and encode them for iOS devices. My next round of videos will be online streaming and/or download only. I think DVDs as a medium are just about dead.
Who do you call when you have photography related legal issues?
I’ve never had to call a lawyer for a photography related issue before. If I did I have a few friends in Atlanta that I would call. If they could not help me they’d have a referral. If I felt it was going to be something huge I’d call ASMP for a referral.
Will I ever stop being so critical of my own photos?
Not if you are any good as a person and as a photographer. The more you grow the more you see. The more you see the less you have of “that” in your portfolio that you must now go out and “get” that. As you go after these images, better images are always just ahead of those. It’s a chase. You keep going. Then you die one day. Someone picks up your camera and sees a photo and goes after it.
"It’s the circle of liiiiiiifffffeeeee!" or something like that.
If you wake up one day and start tweeting about your “rockin” or “suhweeeettt” photos you just took then you have become a douchebag. :)
Look. At some point you have to stand by your work and have confidence in it. That’s a good place to be. But you know yourself well enough to judge how happy you actually are with the images you create. I think an honest and good photographer will always be critical of their work. They will always have a level of unhappiness and uncertainty with their images that drives them to do better.
So…. Hopefully you won’t ever stop being critical. Just make sure you don’t get paralyzed by it and give up. Then your inner demons win and you are leaving the photo industry to the douchebags who shot some SuuuuHHHHweeeeet KILLER rockin’ awesome photos of the best clients they’ve ever worked with yeah!
Howdy, Zack! How does the XPro-1 AF compare to that of the X100. Faster, Slower? Same? I have a Fuji X100 and I love the image quality and size of it, but personally, the AF is too sluggish for me. I was thinking of replacing my Nikon DSLR with an XPro-1 (I'm not a pro, just a traveling hobbyist), but not if the AF is any worse than the X100.
The Xpro-1 is about the same as the x100 as far as focus speed goes. It’s not worse but it isn’t ten times better either. I’m thinking focus will get better in the next generation of X cams. I think for round one they were working on image quality. I hope focusing is the next priority for them.
One nice things though is, esp since you travel, you can’t beat the size and weight for the image quality you get from it. It’s such a great travel camera.
Hey Zack, Thank you so much for doing so much for me when I had zero clue on lighting. Thanks again for being such a mentor. I got the basics down, knowing how things relate and what happens when you change what settings. I am having a difficult time with lighting the a wedding reception dance area. Is hand held the best lighting option for doing dance photos, or is there a way to leave the light on the stand and be more mobile?
Man. Reception lighting is difficult.
The easy thing to do is bounce a LightSphere into the ceiling from an on-camera flash. But that light sucks and you look like an amateur hack with a take-out soup cup on your rig. So many people are lighting like this these days that you could pull one photographer’s receptions gallery from their site and replace it with someone else’s and no one would know the difference.
Handheld is my preferred way of doing it. So that’s camera in your right hand and flash in your left hand. The flash is hooked to the camera via a TTL cord. You can now bounce off the ceiling, off a wall, go direct from the left, from over your head, pop it behind you, bring it down low… you have as many options as your arms can stretch. Try some with manually zooming the head to 85mm or so and shoot with a 24mm lens. It’s a poor man’s grid. It’s kind of cool. Tall people have more lighting options than shorter people. :)
Having a light on a stand is tricky because only certain shooting positions will look good. You’ll still need a flash in hand to fill in from time to time … or all the time. Depending on how you light and the look you want. Just think of that light on a stand more as a rim light/accent light. It can also be pointed into a dark background so it’s adding a bit of ambient look to the background instead of lighting the dance floor or whatever.
Best case scenario - Have a lighting assistant with a light on a stick. They roam as you roam. Figure out how to communicate with them quickly so they can read where you want your light. They simply step into position. Flash on a monopod with a bit of a grid spot for dance floor work. Throw a softbox on there for portrait work when you are running around with the bride and/or groom. Something like a 28” Westcott Apollo.
Try handheld first before you stick a light up on a stand. You can do a lot with it. I love shooting like that. Will your arms hurt after a full wedding? Yes. Will your back be killing you? Yes. Is your camera going to get very heavy? Yes. Suck it up. It’s called hard work. :) You could be digging ditches for a living. Harder work. Less money. Who are we, as photographer, to be complaining about anything?
Hi Sack and Allen, My name is Osvaldo I´m from mexico I just finished the Graphic University, and I want to start my own photography business, I been work taking photos to graduations. My economic situation is low, in mexico is hard buy a pro gear, working hard I buy a nikon d7000 with a cheap lens. My questions are What do you recommend buy a new lens or upgrade my body? I feel restricted with my lens I want to buy a 70-200 lens, but its a good buy a sigma or tamron cheap option? Greetings
It’s the Sack and Allen show! :)
Good lenses will always be with you. Your camera bodies will be replaced over and over through your career. Put your money in a good lens first. Then you can upgrade the body.
Hi Zack, Greetings. I gotta question. If you are shooting in RAW, does the color space matter?
Nope. RAW’s can go SRGB or Adobe RGB after the fact. It’s just raw image data.
I work in SRGB because the world works in SRGB. I might get one request a year to deliver in Adobe RGB. Maybe.
A lot of people swear by Adobe RGB as a working color space but what many don’t consider is most monitors you find yourself working on are not capable of showing the full Adobe color space. So there you are working in a color space you can’t even see the full gamut of. What in the hell is the point of that?
You can get better monitors that show more color and you’re going to drop some nice change to do so for it.
Zack, I know that you're a big fan of X-Pro 1. Have you tried NWX-7? Which one would you choose and why?
I’m not out to test all the 4/3’s and small cameras. I fell in love with the Fuji x100 and haven’t looked back. I love it so much I took a job from Fuji to go to India to shoot with the xPro. I love that camera too. I’ll go insane trying all the Sony’s, Oly’s, Pany’s, etcy’s.
I can tell you that the hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder that Fuji has is what first captured me. I love the OVF so much on these cameras. I love the styling. I love the image quality. I love the things so much that I could not possibly care less about any other small camera out there. I’m happy as can be with my Fuji so I don’t spend a moment of time reading about the others.
How has your workflow changed, if at all, since you switched to Medium Format?
I’m trying to learn Capture 1 right now. If I do a shoot with the Phase and I only need to work on a handful of images I’ll use C1 for it. If it’s anything more than that I’m using LR4.
I used to do my post production in Bridge. I had tried LR1 but I just couldn’t get my head around it and I hated the requirement to import images. I just wanted to open a folder and get to work. I then went to a LightRoom class put on by PDN and I “saw the light”. I picked up LR2 but it still took six months for me to fully move over to LR from Bridge. I see that sort of thing happening with C1. I just need more time and training with it. It’s a fantastic program.
There are great places on the internet to learn about lighting and f-stops and all the technical things. I'm on the way with that. But learning what to do with your portrait subjects when they're in that sweet set-up you've created? Getting something out of them for the camera? Posing without it being, um, posey? That's another matter. I get to that point and feel a bit lost. In your experience does that skill just come over time? Or with assisting? Or can you recommend a resource to help?
Go buy Peter Hurley’s “The art behind the headshot” DVD from f-stoppers. It’s $300 but worth it just for this. Watch that man interact with his subjects. Don’t look at his light. Don’t look at his camera. Don’t look at his computer. Watch it for the interaction. He’s a master. His light and camera and all that is great too but don’t get it for that.
Here's a toughie, Zack. I'm comfortable with the price I ask for my work, but a lot of people who contact me about doing work for them act shocked when I tell them what I charge (it's not astronomical, but it's also not $50 for a CD full of files!). My problem is that, because photography is tied so tightly to who I am as a person, and I find my ability to be something of value about me as a person, when people give me the 'are you kidding' look, it knocks my confidence down a notch. Advice?
The short answer is…
These folks aren’t your client. YOUR client understands the value and has the ability to pay for it. YOUR job is to talk to more of those people than the “OMG HOW MUCH?” people.
This IS NOT a class/society statement as some folks tend to immediately knee jerk react to. Look. I can’t afford to pay my own rate. I can’t pay me $2,500 for a shoot even though I often start out around that rate.
(give or take based on job/usage/etc not getting into a pricing discussion here just making an overall statement)
A damn near homeless singer/songwriter will poop a brick at that price. Indie artists who sell 500 tshirts a month in addition to other things can handle it. One is my client. The other is not.
Now then. I do like to help the damn near homeless musician. I do take a few jobs for next to nothing when it’s a project I really want to do and it’s going to help someone out but I can’t build a life off of those clients nor can I feed my family of six. The more successful I can become getting profitable clients it actually gives me more room to do more projects for those who can’t afford my rates. It’s a win/win/win sort of thing.
Can you tell me about your portrait of the girl sitting the on baggage claim conveyor belt? Where did the idea come from? Who is it? Why did you take? Looks like it could be a candid... but it's not, right?
I’m attaching the one I “think” you are talking about.
That’s my wife Meg. We were in MIA waiting for her keyboard to come out and were about to go on a Singer/Songwriter cruise that she was performing on. I had my camera with me and grabbed the shot, so yes, it’s a candid.
Zack, have you any experience with the radio popper JrX Studio triggers? I use a mix of AB800's and hotshoe flashes for my work, but frequently work without an assistant... So adjusting power levels mid-shoot can be a real pain in the a55! Having a trigger system that would let me adjust power right from the camera would be sweet. Cheers
I’ve never used them so I can’t tell you. Most of my physical exercise comes from walking the whole ten feet to my flash to adjust power settings. Then ten feet back to my shooting position. I work up a hell of sweat.