Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Photos captured by my photo tour attendees in Costa Rica

A couple of days ago I got this idea to post my tour attendee's photos on the blog. They were sharing some of their favorite photos and I was so impressed that I wanted to share them all with you.

Keep in mind that there is not one professional photographer on this trip. These are all photo enthusiasts who are looking to learn and come home with great photos.

Our group after shooting for 3 hours in the rain forest - Photo credit to Dennis, our awesome guide

And with that, here are some of their images from the first couple of days here in Costa Rica. None of these images were taken by me.





The image above and below were taken by our beginner photographer. How about that?! She and her dad (and many others) are shooting with borrowed gear from Canon Professional Services. Here is a big shout out to CPS for their free loaners!



Great composition in this shot.


A favorite subject for many of my guests.



We have a couple of birders in the group, who are making the most of their time down here. This beautiful shot was taken by one of our Nikon shooters, but I won't hold that against her. :)





We have had great weather and continue to get more awesome photos. From what I have seen in the last two days, they have far surpassed even these photos. I am so proud of all of them!

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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Our local 4th of July celebration in Saratoga, CA

I just walked back to my house from our local park where they have an annual 4th of July celebration. This year I decided to go over there without my dog, but with my camera instead. I brought my Canon 1D X Mark II, 100-400mm lens and Canon 600 EX-RT flash. I thought I would share a handful of photos with you all. And for those of you who live in the USA or or are citizens abroad, Happy 4th of July to you all!


People come out to listen to the music and relax in the mild Northern California summer weather.


I saw Betsy Ross talking with Uncle Sam and had to get this shot.


I then asked Uncle Sam if I could get a portrait of him in the shade.



I also ran into Honest Abe and a cuter (and smaller) Betsy Ross.


I asked Betsy (Tabitha) if I could take her portrait, since she was my favorite subject at the celebration.


For a small town, they put on quite a nice celebration.


It was fun to see these guys in costume. They were not as cute as Tabitha, but...



I admire these guys for dressing up and being a part of this special day. They were also sought after by many of the attendees for portraits.

I hope you enjoyed my small view into our town's festivities.

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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________ 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

What I want for my next cameras - Canon are you listening?

Today there are two cameras that I use every time I am on a job. Those are the Canon 1D X Mark II and Canon 5D Mark IV. Both are excellent cameras which have served me really well, but that does not mean that I don't want even more from my cameras.

It has been more than 3 years since Canon announced the top of the line 1D X Mark II (Feb 1, 2016) and almost 3 years since they announced the popular workhorse 5D Mark IV (Aug 25, 2016). As I mentioned, both are great cameras, but with the release of the R Series cameras and lenses Canon has whet my appetite.

As I wrote when the first R Series mirrorless camera came out, there were certain features which looked incredible, but that camera and the subsequent model were not designed for photographers like me. What I saw in those cameras was Canon innovating and designing a camera line for the future. But now comes the big question...when do I get the cameras I want?

Notice that I did not say one camera, I said cameras with an "s". That is because I really want two new models that can replace both the current 1D and the 5D models.


A NEW FLAGSHIP CAMERA



For the high-end pro model, I want to see Canon design a camera body with the following features:

Two high speed memory card slots

I would LOVE to see two slots for the new CFexpress cards. This would allow us photographers and videographers the ability to write to both cards at blazing speeds. For those of you not familiar with CFexpress, these are very fast memory cards that can read and write around 1500 MBs. That is 3 times faster than today's CFast cards and 15 times faster than CF cards. With these cards, I would be able to download almost 100GB per minute to my computer! I really expect this to be the high speed card format of the near future.

In the past, Canon has been reluctant to introduce a camera with two new card slots since this requires us photographers to purchase all new memory cards, but I hope they get aggressive this time around. If Canon does not put two of these slots in the camera, my second choice would be to have one of the CFexpress slots and one high speed SD card slot.

CFexpress cards from Pro Grade Digital


More focusing points 

The current 1D X Mark II does have a lot of focusing points, but I would LOVE to have focusing points from edge to edge. Or at very least, a lot closer to the edge than we have today. Due to the limitation of today's cameras, I do a lot of focus and recomposing (achieving focus on a point close to where I want my focus to be, and then moving the camera to get the composition I want).

Even cleaner images at high ISO  

When people ask me why I upgrade my camera bodies so often, my answer usually revolves around the high ISO capabilities. I shoot a lot of events in dark temples and churches (where flash is not allowed) and am always craving even cleaner images at ISO 3200 and above. Even though I have never had a client complain about digital noise in my photos, Until camera companies can get high ISO images at low ISO qualities, this will always be on my wish list.

Lighter weight

With the advent of mirrorless cameras, we have seen smaller and lighter cameras entering the marketplace. But my camera of choice is still the big and heavy Canon 1D X Mark II. This beast can achieve focus really fast, burst images out at 14 frames per second (if needed), write to two fast card slots, and take a beating. If I could get all this in a smaller and lighter camera body, my back would really appreciate it.

Quieter shutter

The Canon 1D is designed for photo journalists, sports and wildlife photographers and other professionals who require a frame rate of 14 fps. The shutter was designed for speed, not designed to be a silent. But there are times when I use this camera during a religious service and the silent mode isn't silent enough.

Built in WiFi (and Bluetooth)

I know it is hard to believe, but even though the Canon 1D X Mark II is the top of the line DSLR for Canon, it does not have built-in WiFi. Yes, the 5D Mark IV and many of the other Canon cameras have it, but not the 1D. So this should be a given, but I want this feature for sure. And adding Bluetooth for image transfer to a phone would be nice too.


A NEW HIGHER-END MIRRORLESS CAMERA
As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, Canon teased me with the original announcement of the R Series camera. I love the new lens mount, the new lenses, the clarity of the viewfinder and the customization of the camera. But as great as it sounded, there were a couple of features which kept this camera out of my camera bag. It is these areas that I want to see improved so that I can take advantage of all the positives of the R series.

Two memory card slots

The first two R Series cameras from Canon only had one memory card slot, and this is a deal breaker for me. When I shoot images for clients, I ALWAYS shoot images to both card slots. This protects me from a memory card corruption and potential data loss. In order for me to use the new mirrorless cameras from Canon I NEED two memory card slots. Unlike the top-end camera, the next R series camera does not need to have a CFexpress slot (although that would be pretty cool). My guess is that Canon would include two SD card slots (and darn it - they better be UHS-II for the fastest transfer rates this time!)  I think they would use SD cards since CompactFlash cards are pretty much dead now and the CFexpress cards might be overkill for this camera. Either way, just give me two slots!

Fast I/O Servo focusing

While the current R Series mirrorless camera from Canon does have edge to edge focus points, I found that the I/O Servo (follow) focus was not very responsive, rendering the camera less than ideal for sports and wildlife photography. I am hoping that Canon can take advantage of the extra connecting points between the camera body and lens to provide a very fast and accurate follow focus on the next model.

Better battery life

I love that with both of my current cameras. I can shoot almost all day without changing a battery. The first two R Series cameras show an expected battery life between 350-450 photos. Yikes! I suspect that with all the electronics inside the mirrorless camera and the electronic viewfinder, that this takes a lot of battery power. I love that Canon used the same LP-E6 battery that we all own and love, but I would like to have more images per battery than what today's model provides.

Joystick

Both the 1D and the 5D have a joystick for moving focal points, and I have come to rely on this little interface. One of the first things I noticed about the R Series camera is that this was missing. I understand that typical camera consumers may not care about this, but myself and other professional photographers sure do.

I know that Canon is going to be doing a lot more with mirrorless cameras because their executives talked publicly about this very subject in this Imaging Resource interview.

TIMING

I have no inside knowledge of what Canon is doing in Japan, or when they will release their next cameras. But if history is any indicator of the future, the next 6-10 months will likely be very interesting. Why is that? Because the Summer Olympics are in one year and all the big camera companies announce their flagship products for this big event. Not only is this the typical 4 year cycle for the pro cameras, but this next Olympics is in Tokyo - right in the backyard of Canon, Nikon and Sony!

I already have my credentials approved for the 2020 Summer Olympics. All I can do now is cross my fingers and hope that Canon delivers most of the things that I dream for. If all goes well, I will be shooting with both of these dream cameras this time next year or sooner.


A HYBRID OF BOTH?

As I finished writing this, it occurred to me that at some point I can see both of these "wish list" features being integrated into one camera. How great would it be for Canon to have a high-end mirrorless camera with these features?

* Small and light body (but with a professional build)
* Two CFexpress card slots
* Silent
* Super fast frame rate
* Edge to edge focal points
* Fast auto focus in all modes
* High capacity batteries
* Weather sealed
* 4K Video

YOUR WISH LIST?

Feel free to comment and let me know what you would add to the list.


__________________________________________________________________________
Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________ 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Come join me on a Photo Tour next year - See the best of India, Scotland, Ireland, Costa Rica, and Japan!

Next year is going to bring something totally different for my photo tours. For the first time in years, I will not be leading any trips to Africa in 2020 (since it is an Olympic year and I will be photographing the Games during much of the summer). But instead, we have chosen to lead groups to other places which offer amazing photo opportunities that don't conflict with the Olympics.

Along with my two trips to Costa Rica next year, I will be joining M&M Photo Tours as their Guest Pro to teach photography in India, Scotland, Ireland and Japan.  And the good news is...all of these trips are a go! This means that we already have them at least half sold out. This also means that, if you would like to join us on one or more of these awesome trips, you need to let us know soon.

And here is a BIG bonus: Due to my partnership with Canon, if you sign up for any of my photo tours, you can borrow just about any Canon camera gear you would want (cameras, lenses, flash) at no cost for the duration of the trip!

Here is where we are going:

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INDIA

Photo Credit: Mike Gulbraa (M&M Photo Tours)

In January of 2020, we will be heading to India to photograph the scenes, the people and even the tigers. We will be visiting Delhi, Bandhavgarh, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer to offer an amazing variety of photography. There are four spots available for this trip.

You can find more information about this trip HERE.

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COSTA RICA


In May and September of next year I will be leading trips into the rain forest of Costa Rica. As many of you know, this is one of my favorite places to photograph wildlife. You will capture great photos of sloths, monkeys, tree frogs, colorful birds and so much more. Currently there are 2 spots left for the May tour and 8 spots open for the September tour.

You can find more information about these trips HERE.

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SCOTLAND AND IRELAND


In June, we will be heading to the beautiful countries of Scotland and Ireland. From Edinburgh and the Isle of Skye in Scotland to the beautiful west coast of Ireland, we'll photograph the awesome landscapes of mountains, coastlines, villages, lochs, and more. Castles, lighthouses and peat moss thatched houses are also on the shooting list. Currently there are 5 spots left for this tour.

You can find more information about this trip HERE.

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JAPAN

Photo Credit: Mike Gulbraa (M&M Photo Tours)


To finish off the year, I will make a return trip to Japan (after photographing the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in July and August). But this time I will not just be in the big city of Tokyo. We will be capturing the fall foliage in this amazing country. We will be seeing the best of Tokyo, Nikko, Kamakura, Kyoto, Mt. Koya and more.  Currently there are 8 spots left for this tour.

You can find more information about this trip HERE.

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As you can tell, it is going to be an amazing year of unique travel experiences. I hope that you can join in on at least one of them.

If you have any questions about these tours, please email me at jeff@jeffcable.com

__________________________________________________________________________
Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________ 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Two new presentations at B&H Photo next week

Next Tuesday I will be back at B&H Photo in New York for two new presentations.

The first presentation will talk about how I use Photoshop to "finish" my images. The second presentation will show you my images from numerous trips to the rain forest of Costa Rica, and talk about the process of capturing these images.

If you live in the area, come by and watch live. If you want to register for the events, you can do so HERE. If you are not local to the NY area, both will be live-streamed and eventually put on YouTube.

And thanks to Datacolor and Canon for sponsoring these!

I hope to see you there.
__________________________________________________________________________
Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________

Monday, June 3, 2019

Is the new Apple Mac Pro the best choice for photographers?

Finally, after many years of waiting, I was happy to see that Apple just announced a new Mac Pro computer. I have been (and still am) using the 2013 model of the Mac Pro and have been waiting for this Apple announcement for years. But, now that Apple has announced all the details, the big questions are:

* Does the power of this computer justify the cost?
* Is this the best computer for photographers?


Before continuing this blog post (and what is probably fairly obvious since the computer is not even out yet) I should say that I have not actually tried the new Mac Pro and I am basing this blog post on all the specs and information that Apple announced today. But having used Macs for 15 years and knowing the technical ins and outs, I am able to make some pretty confident conclusions here.

Lets start with the base price of the new Mac Pro. This computer is going to start at $6000, which will get you an 8-core Intel Xeon processor, 32GB of memory and a 256GB solid state drive. These specs are OK for photographers, but I would never recommend a 256GB SSD and would suggest a minimum of 512GB. This will likely put the price at approximately $6500.

And then, of course, you will need to purchase a monitor. Apple's new 6K monitor looks simply amazing, but will set you back another $5000. Yikes! I am currently using a Samsung 32" 4K monitor, which is no longer current, but you can find this model for only $600 at B&H. Since I don't see myself ever spending $5000 on a monitor, I figure I am looking at a starting price of $7100 to get the new Mac with a third party display.

So...looking at this price vs performance, my first thought was to compare this new Mac to an iMac or iMac Pro.

On Apple's web site, they show this speed comparison for a task done in Adobe Photoshop CC


The first thing I notice is that Apple is running this test using "faster processing of well-threaded filters". What the heck is that? Having spend 20+ years in marketing at technology companies, I can assume that Apple looked for the the most processor intensive tasks to show off the new computer. But I don't know that I have ever run a "well-threaded filter" and would love to know if my everyday tasks in Photo Mechanic and Adobe Photoshop will be faster. And the second thing I noticed is that Apple is doing the comparison of the older Mac Pro, iMac Pro to the new Mac Pro with all 28 cores! I have no idea what the 28-core Mac Pro will sell for, but I am guessing that it will run a minimum of $10,000. I have even seen heard that a full configured 28-core Mac Pro could cost as much as $50,000.

So all this leads me to look at the prices of similarly configured iMac computers.

* A 2019 model 8-core iMac Pro with 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64X GPU, and a 27" 5K monitor can be found at B&H for $5699. Here is the link to that configuration

* An 2019 model 8-core iMac with 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, AMD Radeon Pro Vega 48 GPU and a 27" 5K monitor can be found at B&H for $4500. Here is the link to that configuration

And I should point out that having more cores in your processor does not necessarily mean that you will get a ton more speed out of photo editing tasks in programs like Photoshop. Those cores are going to be way more important to the person editing 4K or 8K video or rendering 3D graphics or large animations.

All of these computers have expansion ports (like Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C), so connecting other drives is a simple process. I choose to store only the operating system and applications on the internal drive of the computer, and keep all of my photos and documents on my Drobo 8D.

Some people are interested in the aesthetics of their computers, and the new Mac Pro looks like an updated version of the older "Cheese grater" computer I used 8 years ago. It is pretty interesting looking, but I may still be partial to the all-in-one design of the iMac for a good clean look on the desk.

My last point may seem silly to many of you, but looking at the massive power supply of the new Mac Pro, my first thought was about the heat output from this beast. Having used older computers and monitors in the past, I know that they could increase the temperature of my studio dramatically.

Is this new Mac Pro the best choice for professional photographers? I guess it really depends on how much money you have to spend and what tasks you are typically performing. None of these are inexpensive solutions, but this should give you some things to think about before buying your new Mac desktop.

__________________________________________________________________________
Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________ 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Why I shoot everything in RAW format and why you should too!


It is not uncommon for people to write to me asking if I shoot RAW or JPEG, and my answer is always the same. I ALWAYS shoot in RAW.

Why would I do that? Because, no matter what I am photographing, I want to get the best image possible. The RAW file is uncompressed and holds more data than a JPEG image. This allows me to manipulate the photo much better in my retouching process. To be a little more specific, there is more information in the white balance. highlights & shadows of the photo, and I have a better chance of creating a polished finished image with a RAW file.

While it is true that shooting in JPEG format is faster, both in the camera (writing to the card and clearing the buffer) and in post (opening the file in a photo editing program), I would prefer to have quality over speed.

When I first started shooting RAW, I did so at times when I thought the photos were most important to me or the client. It wasn't long before I realized that every photo I took was important in it's own way.

You may be thinking, "OK, maybe I should shoot in both formats". I know a lot of people who choose to shoot RAW and JPEG to their memory cards. I am NOT a big fan of this for numerous reasons:

1. Shooting RAW plus JPEG slows your camera down! Yes, as it turns out, your camera has to process every image twice if you choose this mode. This means that most cameras will take twice as long to write the images to a memory card, and therefore take much longer to clear your buffer. Even on fast cameras like my Canon 1D X Mark II and Canon 5D Mark IV, this is very noticeable. I always advocate shooting to two memory cards (to make sure you come away with your images) but I shoot the same RAW images to both card slots.

2. If I really need JPEG images, it only takes seconds (or maybe minutes if I have thousands of photos) to convert my RAW files to a JPEG format using a program like Photo Mechanic. This can also be done in Lightroom and other software applications.

There are a couple of disadvantages of shooting RAW:

1. RAW files are larger in size than their JPEG equivalents, but memory cards and hard drives have grown in capacity and dropped in price to a point where this should not be a big deal.

2. It does take an extra step, and therefore more time, when processing a RAW file. As the retoucher, we need to add the sharpening, saturation, contrast and more. But again, I prefer to take a little more time with each image and have a better quality product at the end.

3. These larger files will take longer to write to your memory cards, and therefore fill your buffer faster. But even with that said, I still shoot every Olympic Games in RAW format. Why? I am at the Olympics!!!! I am capturing history and want the best image I can get.

It all really boils down to this: I treat every photo shoot as a once in a lifetime opportunity, and for that reason, I think that every photo should be captured with the best possible format.

What do you do? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on the subject.



__________________________________________________________________________
Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________ 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Questions to ask when hiring a professional photographer

Funny...in all my years of blogging, this is the first time that I have written about this subject. I can not tell you how many times I am already booked and the clients have asked me the question "What should we be looking for when hiring a professional photographer?"

The other day I was at a car dealership to drop off my car for service and my service manager mentioned that she was getting married and looking for a photographer. I ended up spending a lot of time giving her advice on the questions she should be asking her possible photographers and what she should be requiring. This made me think that this is information I should be sharing with all of you.


1. What is their shooting style and is it the style you want?

First and foremost, the most important factor when choosing a photographer is to make sure they shoot in the style you are looking for. When people contact me about shooting for them, some of the first questions I ask them is "Have you looked at my web site? And does my style match what you are looking for?" Let's face it, some people want a photographer who shoots all high-key shots or puts an Instagram filter on all the photos. That is not me! My goal is to photograph all my clients to show who they are, not who I am. Most of the images on my web site capture the essence of my subjects and show my journalistic style. My goal is to attract those clients who like high-quality candid photos.


2. Does their personality match yours?

Most people don't think about the personality of the photographer, but I always tell people that this is critical. Remember, if you are hiring a photographer to shoot your wedding or other big event, you will likely be spending 8 or more hours with them. You want to hire someone who compliments you. If you are easy going and informal, you will likely want to hire someone who mirrors that attitude. I insert myself into each family as I am shooting their event. It lets me get to know them really well, determine who they are, have fun with them, and share the passion for photography.

3. How much does it cost for the photographer and the end products?

Once people determine that the photographer is capable of delivering high quality images in the preferred style, and they have a good rapport with the photographer, the next question is usually about cost.

In my opinion, there are some factors which might influence the pricing:

* Geography - the cost would likely be more in higher-cost cities
* Experience - the more experienced (& higher quality) a photographer, the higher the price might be
* Duration of the photography - you need to know how many hours of coverage you are getting
* Deliverables - are these included in a package or are you paying separately for digital, prints and an album? * If you are paying a la carte, how much do these options cost?

And having been a professional photographer for 15 years, I know that pricing can be all over the map. There are photographers that can be found on Craigslist and other web sites who will shoot an all-day event for $300, and there are some high-end photographers who might charge $50k for their team to capture a full day.


4. Are the photos that you order going to be fully retouched?

Typically photographers will deliver images in one of following categories:

1. Not retouched at all (just exported to a JPEG format and handed to the client)
2. Minor retouching (usually batch processed in Lightroom)
3. Full retouching (fully completing each image)

Next month I will be presenting at B&H Photo in New York, and I will be talking about what it takes to take a good photo from the camera and retouch it to make it great. It is my belief that a good photographer should strive to capture an image that gets us 90% to the final deliverable. But this is still not a finished product. I fully retouch every photo that my clients order. Typically this means making adjustments to the exposure levels, shadows, highlights, white balance and then remove fly-away hairs, acne, exit signs, and other distractions.

You need to be aware of this before hiring a photographer, because your expectations of a finished product and theirs may differ.


5. How long will your photographer spend with you?

Most photographers I know set their pricing based on their hourly commitment, and this is totally understandable. I base my pricing on hours when I am shooting portraits or corporate jobs.  When I shoot an all day event, I generally charge a day rate, and unless the event is unusually long, I charge a fixed fee and stay until the event is over. I do this because I want my clients to know that capturing their event in its entirety is more important than the money I am making. But either way, you will want to know what your photographer is committing to.


6. Will there be a second photographer?

Not all events need a second photographer, but I usually recommend a second shooter for weddings and large events. Here is why:

* There is a lot going on at most weddings, it can be difficult for one photographer to cover everything. This is especially true before the wedding when the ladies are getting ready at one location and the gentlemen at another venue. Unless the day is choreographed just right, it takes more than one photographer to capture both sets of the wedding party getting ready. And during the wedding and reception, it is helpful to have a second person getting photos from different angles. Can it be done with one photographer? Yes, I have done it numerous times. But life is much easier with a second photographer.

* For events with more than 300 people, it is difficult for one person to adequately cover all the attendees. And it is not just the coverage of all the people, there will likely be certain scenarios that happen during the course of the event that will be missed.

7. What is their turn around time? And how long are the proofs posted?

I already mentioned the large disparity in pricing between photographers, but will also find a vast difference in how quickly photographers will promise to get proof images to their clients. I have heard wedding photographers say that they can deliver proof images within 3 weeks of the event, and I have also heard others who take 3 months to deliver their proofs. I almost always deliver my proof images the day after the event, and I leave the gallery up for 6 months. I also extend my client's galleries for no charge if they need more time. But I am not saying that this is the norm in our industry. You want to make sure to get your proofs within a week or two of your event, and when you order prints, digitals, and even albums, I think that the turn around time should be less than 2 weeks.

8. What unique services do they offer?

Along with providing beautiful photos to the client, there are many other options offered by photographers. Some still photographers will offer videography or photo booths, while others might provide same-day slideshows. It doesn't hurt to ask what other services the photographer might offer. I personally do not offer videography or photo booths, but am happy to recommend other vendors who do a great job with these services.



9. What equipment do they use?

This is a tricky one, because great equipment does not make a great photographer. BUT, I have seen some "photographers" show up to events with really old cameras, cheap lenses and consumer level gear that just can't get the job done correctly. You want to make sure that your photographer has reasonably up-to-date gear and backups of key equipment. I would never photograph an event with just one camera body, one flash, or one lens. Things can go wrong, and they do. I usually show up to an event with the following gear:

* Canon 1D X Mark II camera
* Canon 5D Mark IV camera
* Canon 70-200mm 2.8 lens
* Canon 24-70mm II lens
* Canon 16-35mm III lens
* Canon 8-15 fish eye lens
* At least 6 of the Canon 600 EX-RT flash units
* Lots of Pro Grade Digital memory cards
* At least 4 extra sets of fully charged Powerex Pro AA batteries for the flashes

And I ALWAYS shoot redundantly to two memory cards in each camera. I spent 12 years in the memory card business and know that things can go wrong with these cards, so I write RAW files to both cards. The last thing I want is to have data corruption and no record of a client's event.

10. How long do they keep the images?

My wedding was 28 years ago and I am pretty sure that our photographer trashed our negatives more than a decade ago. Heck...maybe even 20 years ago. I pride myself on keeping every digital image I have shot since 1998, and having those images in different locations in case of a catastrophe. (You can read about my backup system in this blog post). Last year I even had a client from 2008 place an order for their images. I am not saying that every photographer should keep their images for a lifetime, but you should know what the life of your images are, especially if you are one of those clients that procrastinates in selecting your final images.

11. Does your photographer offer albums and album design?

Believe it or not, there are plenty of photographers who shoot the photos, deliver digital images and that's it. And we all know what happens to our photos when we get them and don't have the time or talent to put them in an album. I remember cleaning out my parent's house and finding shoe boxes full of those long forgotten images.

Check to see if your photographer can create a finished album or book for you. Typically these days, that means a high-quality press printed keepsake. You also want to ask how many photos and pages are included in the layout and price of the album or book.


Events may come and go, but the photos will stay forever

I take my profession really seriously, and I treat every photo shoot as a once in a lifetime event. Whether it is the Olympic Games or a family portrait, I am still capturing photos that tell a story and capture that moment in time. As I always say, "I don't think of myself as a photographer, I think of myself as a historian". This is a job that just can't be taken lightly.

I am sure that I am missing some more criteria here, but I hope that this helps you to make a more informed decision as you search for a professional photographer. If you have a friend looking for a photographer, feel free to pass this blog post along to them.

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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
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Friday, May 10, 2019

Tips for photographing graduate portraits and a graduation ceremony

It is that time of year when a lot of kids are graduating from high school and college. Our daughter, Ali, worked really hard and just graduated with a BBA degree from the University of Portland. Go Ali!!

Being a photographer, I was excited to document this momentous occasion for Ali and her friends. Also, because her graduation was early in May, it gives me a chance to share my best photography tips with all of you, not only of the graduation ceremony, but also for portraits before and after the big event.

So...for all of you about to head to a graduation, my hope is that this will help you capture great photos of your own.

Here are my top 12 tips for taking portraits before the graduation ceremony:


1. Find a good location on the campus that shows the school name or marquee buildings (preferably with even light)


2. Do formal poses, but also let them have some fun!


3. Do individual and group shots (individuals at f/4 and groups at f/8)



4. If you can, choose a time in the morning or late afternoon for best light. If not, search for a neutral area (like this doorway).



5. If the kids have decorated their caps, make sure to have them turn around to get some fun shots of this.



6. Shoot for a variety of looks. I did group shots and individual portraits for each of the girls at multiple locations.


7. Use an on-camera flash (I used my Canon 600EX-RT flash in TTL mode, turned down to -1 in power) to add just a little bit of fill light to your subjects. I did this for almost every photo in this blog post.



8. Take photos of the kids with their caps and gowns, but also without them. Here, we decided to get a portrait of Gabi with her stethoscope, since she graduated nursing school.


9. If you have to shoot in direct sunlight, have your subjects turn their backs to the sun and use your flash to add light to them.



10. If you are taking portraits with a bright background, you will need to set your camera correctly. This photo (above) was taken with the camera in manual mode (ISO 160, f/13, 1/200). Here is how I came up with those settings. I knew I needed a shutter speed less than 1/250 sec (for the flash to sync correctly). I set the ISO to a low number, and then adjusted the aperture to get myself a proper exposure (using the meter in camera) with a shutter speed around 1/200 sec.


This is the same image taken without the flash turned on. I then powered up my Canon 600EX-RT flash to full power, got close to the group, and fired the camera. This photo was captured with just the one flash lighting the group. As you can see, I also brightened the image in Photoshop to bring out the building and grass.


11. Get creative! The girls wanted to get a photo of themselves in front of the bell tower, but the lighting was not good. But I looked up and thought it would be fun to do a group shot with them huddled above me. I was laying on the ground, looking up at them, and used my flash with a MagMod MagSphere diffuser to spread the light onto all of them.


12. Show off their accomplishments. In this case, Gabi and Katie had just graduated from nursing school and wanted to change into their scrubs. After doing some formal shots, I suggested that they have a little fun with the stethoscope.

And now for some tips on taking photos during the actual ceremony.


1. If you can sneak down (without being intrusive or in others way), try and get a portrait of your graduate amongst their peers.


2. Before the ceremony starts, check out the lighting in the room (if it is indoors) to see what ISO you will need to get a decent photo. In my case, I used my Canon 5D Mark IV with the Canon 70-200 2.8 lens. The room was moderately lit, and in order to get a reasonable shutter speed (between 1/150 and 1/250 sec) I determined that I needed to set my ISO to 3200 and shoot at f/2.8. I chose not to use flash, since I did not want to disturb the others.


3. Track your subject. I set my focus mode to IO Servo so that the camera would track my daughter's movement and keep her in focus as she walked.


Using all those settings really paid off. The wide depth of field (using f/2.8) helped to separate Ali as she walked off the stage, the IO Servo focus mode helped keep her in focus as she moved, and the shutter speed was just enough to freeze her in action as she made this classic "Ali expression".


After the ceremony, we met our daughter outside. I wanted to get a photo of her with her diploma (which was not inside yet). I moved her to a shady spot and grabbed this image. I used an aperture of f/5 to get both her and the diploma holder in focus but blur all the people behind her.

I hope this helps you get great photos of your graduate during this important time of year!

__________________________________________________________________________
Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
__________________________________________________________________________
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
__________________________________________________________________________
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours.
__________________________________________________________________________