Oak Show Choir

Shooting In Low Light: Show Choir – Closing Night

The Oak Show Choir had their closing night performance for the 2015-2016 season.  I had to pleasure to photograph this last concert. The biggest challenge was shooting in low light conditions.  This was overcome with fast glass and high ISO.  I couldn’t sacrifice shutter speed due to the fact that the kids were dancing.  But, I couldn’t go too fast as my shots would have been far to dark.

Other challenges included: Irregularly lit stage (many hot and dead spots), not being able to move from my location, and stationary items that sometimes blocked the kids. That said, challenges are meant to be overcome.  Get the shot no matter what.

The low-light was overcome by, what I mentioned earlier, fast glass.  Fast glass refers to lenses with large apertures. The aperture is the opening of a lens.  I shot with a f 2.8 and a f 2.0.  I used the f 2.8 only for a short time.  It is a wide angle lens and I wanted shots of the entire ensemble. This did not work as I had hoped since the piano player, in the live band, was right smack in the middle of every shot.  So, I switched to my f 2.0 zoom lens and focused in on single or small group shots.

I also mentioned that I shot at a high ISO.  It wasn’t too high, 1600 ISO.  Most cameras today can easily handle this.  That being true, due to the low-light there was some graininess. Don’t be afraid of grain though.  Far too many think grain is a bad thing.  We are getting so used to High Definition TV’s that we want everything crystal clear.  The end results is that we think that any grain is bad.  It’s not.  So, don’t stress on it. In the days of film, we didn’t stress on it. What is more important, in this case, is capturing a point in time that is very important to these kids and their family. If it was a commercial shoot, that would have been a different story and we would make allowances to address it.

    I ended the evening with around 300 really nice shots.  If you’re a parent or student, and you wish to purchase any shots, please contact me to view a private gallery.

    Bands of Santiago Sharks

    Great Year With The Band

    I am nearly finished spending a great year photographing BOSS (Bands of Santiago Sharks).  These young musicians led by Kris Parish and Joe Dudek comprise the award-winning bands that have marched in the Rose Parade and performed at Carnegie Hall, just to name two.

    It started off just before school started, at “band camp”.  Three days of MARCHING under the hot sun.  Most of the kids didn’t know me, nor where they entirely comfortable having a camera pointed at them.  This quickly changed.  Over this past year they have learned to ignore me, in a good way.  It’s been a combination of me becoming somewhat invisible to them and they becoming more comfortable with the camera.

    The first half of the season they MARCHED – football games, parades and competitions.  The second half, they performed in one of four bands and/or one of four jazz ensembles.  In being the photographer, documenting there growth visually, I had the added honor of hearing them grow as musicians.  This is especially exciting since my son is involved, playing multiple instruments in multiple bands. I spent a large portion of my life in the music business as a player, audio engineer and producer.

    It’s been an amazing ride.  I got 7 more years to go with BOSS, can’t wait to see what is captured.

    For more images go to 3penguins.shootproof.com/santiago

    Joe Randeen
    3 Penguins Photography

    BOSS BOSS BOSS Band CampSocial Media Badge

    Free Spec Work?

    Free Spec Work?Creatives are often asked to do FREE work, especially Spec Work.  There are grandiose promises of future work, at a reduced rate of course.  Especially when we are starting off, or hungry, we will agree to almost anything.  Don’t be tempted.  Not only does it hurt you but in undermines our industry.

    I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on training, software, hardware and other things that have made me better at my craft.  Why should I, and you, get paid as any other professional?  When I hear from a potential client that a friend of theirs will do it for FREE, that doesn’t motivate me to under sell my craft, and it shouldn’t you either.  Also, please don’t shoot weddings for $300-$500.  You’ll lose your shirt and you hurt the industry.

    Adweek just posted this article and video that we, as creative professionals, and our potential clients should take a look at.  ENJOY!


    People in other industries don’t provide their would-be clients with “spec work” for free. That would be asinine. So, why do advertising agencies continue to do it?

    It’s not a new question. (This Adweek story from August was just the latest assessment of a practice that goes back decades.) But Toronto agency Zulu Alpha Kilo really illustrates just how ludicrous it is—in the great video below, in which a guy approaches real men and women (not actors) in other businesses and asks them to provide him with a product or service for free, to see if he likes it before committing to more. [read more]

    The VALUE in photography

    These are not my words as I’m re-posting this from Two Blooms Photography, but they are my stance, my beliefs if you will.  I don’t think it is the intention of Two Blooms Photography, nor mine, to point a figure at or chastise anyone.  Rather, as professional photographers we have done a poor job of educating out clients. So, here you go – appreciate the value of photography.

    – Joe Randeen | 3 Penguins Photography


    I can’t tell you how many times…

    I have gotten a phone call, email, or Facebook message from someone saying how much they love my work and want to book a session with me. I then proceed to give them all of the information and pricing, and there’s a moment of silence.

    HOW MUCH???

    I have experienced a lot of sticker shock over the past year from many people and I completely understand why. At first glance, my pricing might seem a little alarming. I mean, you have a nice DSLR, right? Or know someone who has one that could do the same work for you for free? Yes, and a BIG. FAT. NO.


    (can you tell the difference? Same kid….same photographer…both taken with a “nice camera”….2.5 years apart. There IS a difference between the relative with the camera and an experienced professional)

    When you hire a professional photographer, you aren’t just getting pretty pictures.

    You are receiving a customized session with professional (and dare I say EXPENSIVE) equipment and props. Professionals also have to invest in computers and editing software to make the photos look, well, professional. But my point today is NOT about how much the photographer has to invest in their business, but as the client who chooses to invest in custom photography.

    Custom photography is not a necessity, it’s a LUXURY.

    Just like that $5 latte you get before work every morning. Or that $900 flat screen TV you just got for Christmas. Or those $100 skinny jeans that you can’t imagine living without. I could go on all day about the luxuries we indulge ourselves in everyday.

    But when it comes to a $350 photography session…GASP….you suddenly cannot breathe.

    I don’t blame you; I honestly don’t. When everyone has an uncle Bob to take their picture for free (or right next to it) or a Walmart/Picture People/Portrait Innovations, then the $350 might seem a little steep.

    But, if you truly admire good photography, then treat it as a luxury.

    Luxuries are not an everyday occurrence. Luxuries may only come but once a year (or every 5 years, and that’s okay!). But if you treat it as a luxury, you will value it MORE.

    If you are one that really values photography and wants so badly to have precious memories of your loved ones created, then I challenge you to make a fund.

    Instead of that $5 latte, why not put that into a jar to invest towards your photography session? Maybe you can afford to skip that pedicure you had scheduled for this month and put that into the jar too. Just like saving and planning for any luxury, photography isn’t any different.

    I know that custom photography isn’t for everyone and I respect that. But if you can see good photography for what it’s worth, then uncle Bob’s photos might not be enough for you.

    I mean, the proof is in the pudding…
    What can you sacrifice a little to put towards a photo session?

    French newspaper removes all images in support of photographers

    BRAVO to the French newspaper removes all images in support of photographers.  It’s about time.

    “A visual shock. For the first time in its history, Libération is published without photographs. In their place: a series of empty frames that create a form of silence; an uncomfortable one. It’s noticeable, information is missing, as if we had become a mute newspaper. [A newspaper] without sound, without this little internal music that accompanies sight,” writes Brigitte Ollier, a journalist Libération‘s Culture desk.

    Ollier is right, and by choosing to maintain the newspaper’s usual design – with its articles flowing around the spaces where images should have been shown – Libération has succeeded in its attempt to show the power and importance of photography in our understanding of world events. [read]