The 2012 wedding gauntlet, or so it was named, is officially over. We’re not finished for the year, but we’re finished with our most demanding portion of this year’s schedule. It was decided to take on the challenge, and put ourselves through a trial this August, with four back-to-back weddings from San Diego, CA, to Santa Barbara, CA, to Portland OR…twice. Most of the time it was just Lucas and myself, no assistants or other shooters. If it weren’t for the tips and tricks we’ve learned from some amazing speakers on Creative Live, I believe we would have had a much more difficult time.
We’ll come back to technical talk and photography business workflow in a minute, first let’s talk about how much fun we had hopping around from brewery to brewery in Portland. Obviously, we thought it was a good idea to have a relaxing day, and kind-of celebrate our accomplishments, so we spent the day visiting a few spots in Portland, OR. Lucky Lab is a great place to grab a pie and a pint in the North-West. They have delicious pizzas, good brews, a spacious floor plan and a nice beer garden to just relax and maybe throw some darts. Cascade Brewing Barrel House in the South-East is one of my favorites, and a must for any of you sour lovers out there. They serve a rotating wide array of lambics that are sure to wake up your taste buds. Last, but definitely not least is the fabulous Hair of the Dog, also in the South-East, who serves up a nice selection of house strongs. I recommend ordering a “Fred” and a chef special pickle plate…trust me you can’t go wrong!
It was a nice day filled with good food, good brews, and good friends. Of course, just because we’re out doesn’t mean we can leave the camera behind…so we grabbed a few shots from around our multiple stops. So, back to gear jargon …I’ve been loving shooting with my mid-level canon primes, the 85mm f/1.8 and the 50mm f/1.4. They’re great for reception work and interior getting ready locations due to their great speed, plus I personally prefer the shallow depth of field that comes with shooting at +/- f/2.0. This made me realize that I hadn’t even touched my 24-105mm f/4L at any one of the most recent four weddings. Well, naturally I started thinking about getting rid of my older backup body, and the 24-105, as well as the mid-level primes, and stepping up to the canon L primes…the 85mm f1.2L & the 50mm f/1.2L. From all of the research I’d done in the past, and all the wonderful professionals out there who give their time and share their experiences, I’d come to understand that these two lenses are some of the best, period. Well, I’m happy to say that, in a matter of a few days, I will be a proud owner of both these wonderful lenses. I can’t wait to get out there and shoot some portraits with the 85, and get some great reception dancing goodness with the 50!
Lastly, back on track with some great tips I’ve learned thanks to Creative Live. It can’t be stressed enough how much proper exposure and white balance is to a professional photographer. It is the first thing my eye sees when I look at other people’s work who call themselves “Professional”. If I can recommend one product, and one product alone, regardless of what camera body, manufacturer or glass you own…its the Expo Disc. At first glance you might think it’s an overpriced piece of plastic, but I can guarantee you, regardless of skill level or what’s in your gear bag, it will improve the quality of your product and help give you more consistent work, hands down. It is more important to purchase this item than it is to invest in any other gear. No lens or camera body can provide you with what this product offers.
Okay, that’s it for my rant! Check back next time, and we will get into post-processing workflow and how you can edit an entire wedding, from start to finish, in less than a day. Hint hint, it involves the Expo Disc as part of your shooting workflow…
Business is good.
We’re approaching wedding season, less than two weeks away now until our first of the season. Things are happening quickly, but luckily we also adapt just as fast. Luke and I, being such good friends for so many years, can read each other’s minds.
Things like marketing, business systems, and just general planning for growth…we’re feeling the pains of having to implement these systems. This part isn’t my favorite, as it’s far from the creative side we mostly tap into, although I’m glad we have the sense to plan accordingly…I think this is very important. With all the positive things happening around us in life, this is just another reason to be thankful for every day when I wake up.
To celebrate booking a few more wedding clients, but also to pow-wow about strategies, we grabbed some lunch to talk over. Life is good…life is good.
Oh, the sun-burst shots are with the new Elinchrom Ranger/39″ Octobank system…stay tuned for images when we actually get to use this for clients!
Last weekend I rounded off the strobe collection with my third & fourth Lumopro 160 and another pair of cactus v5 triggers. I had taken the time to use my Strobist DIY kit and build two black-straw snoots, as well as cut, velcro and organize all of the correction & effect gels I received in that kit. Now I have a mobile, wireless w/remote shutter release, four strobe setup. Now combine that with the gels, and I have quite a few possibilities to explore.
So I figured it was time to test my equipment and see if I could get a nice shot of water splashing in a martini glass, just for fun. Since the Lumopro 160′s aren’t capable of high-speed sync, I was limited to a shutter speed of 1/250, which is unfortunately bad for motion freeze. I could use studio lights, of course, but I’m really focusing on strobe setups and wireless syncing for this shot. Regardless of the limitations, I believe the end result, with a little motion blur in the water, was substantial.
The camera settings were:
f4, 1/250, ISO 100.
The lighting setup was:
Two bare speedlights as side-lights at 1/16 power. One speedlight from behind at 45 deg. with a snoot at 1/8 power. One speedlight as a background light with a red gel at 1/8 power.
When you click through the blog post, you will see setup & miscellaneous shots courtesy of Lucas Parker Photography. Hopefully this helps visually see the setup with my lack of a shot diagram….not to mention give you an insight into how much fun we have doing this kind of stuff!
Just finished a band photoshoot with the LBians, a local Long Beach band. We started early and shot at four locations around Long Beach, including Ferns Bar and the old Press Telegram Building. The shots you see in the blog are just a few candids and setups from the various locations. We were using either a two or three light set-up including two Lumopro 160′s, one Canon Speedlight 580ex ii, two Westcott 42″ shoot-throughs and four of my new Cactus v5 wireless triggers. The new Cactus v5 triggers are transceivers with remote shutter release capabilities, male and female metal hot shoes, temperature and humidity calibration, and groups/channels firing capabilities.
I’m happy to say that I’m currently preparing six pieces to show on July 3rd at S.A.M. The pieces are from my recent travels to Maui in addition to personal work I’ve done around downtown Long Beach. I’ve completed post-processing and now going through soft-proofing to ensure I get the best print quality I can. Collages.net is my professional color lab.
S.A.M. (Summer and Music) covers several different event series within Long Beach, but I will be participating in “Sundays in the Park with SAM”. The event takes place in Promenade Square Park, on the corner of Promenade and 1st St. in downtown Long Beach. There will be live music from 3:30-6:45pm, including Fielding, Jenny Long & Ben White.
Please come say hi and show your support, I would greatly apprecite it!. Also, click-through for a peek at the pieces I will be showing.