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.

    Photograph could get an Australian real estate agent $22K in fines

    Real estate photography might seem straightforward, but the reality is it’s just as challenging as any other genre. After all, it’s about what you should keep in the image and what you should take out.

    How far is too far though? That’s what a few would-be home buyers are asking in regards to the photo you see above.

    What’s wrong with it, you ask? Technically speaking, nothing. But when compared to the view you actually see when standing in front of the house, what the above image shows appears to be the Photoshop job of the century. But, in reality, it’s nothing more than clever composition and camera placement.

    As you can see from the Google Street View image below, there is a giant, not-so-visually-appealing water tower behind the house. A water tower that is not in the slightest bit present in the image shared on the home’s listing. [read more]

    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]

    Should Weddings Ban Smart Phones and Selfie Sticks?

    Personally – I say YES!!!!  The wedding is NOT about the attendees, it’s about the two people who are getting married.  I ask myself, what is SO important that you, as the attendee, feel that you must use your phone and a selfie stick to capture the moment – often ruining the shot for the pro photographer that they couple has hire to take the pictures.

    wedding-selfie--670x446I saw a great article on this very subject.  It was so popular that it broke their website.  As a result DIY Photography re-posted it.

    Many photographers don’t appreciate the fact that wedding guests use their camera and smartphone to take photos during a wedding. This is mostly because those many times interfere with the work of the photographer.

    The post below surfaced on Facebook and was massively shared gaining around 4,000 shares and 5,500 likes in the course of three days:

    I rarely get this upset, but this has me upset. I don’t want to ever see this happen to our clients photos ever again.

    This just has to stop. Over the years it’s become harder and harder to fight the occasional over zealous guest with a camera phone. Now with the invention of the selfie stick it looks like we’re just losing the battle.

    Brides and Grooms, please have an unplugged wedding ceremony. Please tell your guests to put their phones away. Please tell them to leave their selfie sticks at home.

    Guests, please have respect for the wedding you are attending. Simply put, the Bride and Groom pay a lot for professional photography. You have no right to ruin it for them. Sticking a selfie stick out in the middle of the aisle during a processional in a church is so completely selfish. Think twice, think about your friends and their memories. Just put the phone away and enjoy the day.

    In fact the post has become so popular that the photographer had to take it down as it was taking the page’s attention from her wedding photos to a bigger and heated discussion.

    We contacted the photographer who agreed to share the post and asked not to be mentioned by name to keep focusing on her work, rather than the facebook status.


    Photography Is No Longer a Crime in Los Angeles

    Jo/L.A. Weekly Flickr pool

    In 2011, Long Beach Post reporter Greggory Moore was detained by cops for taking photos outside a courthouse. Eight sheriffs deputies detained, frisked, and interrogated him, saying his actions were suspicious.

    In the wake of 9/11, the Los Angeles Police Department established an anti-terror laundry list of 48 suspicious activities, including taking pictures with “no aesthetic value,” that could be used to stop people for questioning.

    The spirit of that list was, for the most part, adopted by the L.A. Sheriff’s Department and the Long Beach Police Department, and officers from those organizations have been accused of detaining legitimate photogs for snapping shots of what law enforcement deemed to be sensitive sites, such as courthouses, refineries, jails and tall buildings. [read]

    Timelapse video – From The 23rd

    Screen shot 2013-11-15 at 11.53.59 AMHere is a timelapse video created by Photographer Joe Nafis, over the course of 2 years (that’s 24 months in baby time).  Shot from his Shanghai 23rd floor apartment it captures the city and it’s life.


    If you’re interested in timelapse photography here are some tips from PictureCorrect.