Sunday, December 13, 2009


I've moved the official blog to Blogger was just a little too rigid in terms of customization. Wordpress has a gazillion themes that do 90% of what I need, so I switched over to that.

Now, prepare to suffer the endless ramblings of ... ME!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Modern Tech + Weddings = Magic.

The D700 is my favorite camera of all time. Although, I've always used older Nikon glass with it. I use the 35mm f/2 and 85mm f/1.4 as my walkaround lenses, and the 80-200mm f/2.8 AFS as my main telephoto. Not that there's anything wrong with that, they are great lenses.

But they lack that special something.

At the wedding I shot this weekend, I finally rented and spent some time with the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 and 24-70mm f/2.8. I must say, they blew my mind on how good they were. I never knew lenses could focus so fast, and stay so sharp. They are very resistant to flare as well.

Here are some samples of what I'm talking about in terms of sharpness.

100% crop

D700 + 24-70mm 2.8 @ 2.8, 1/500, ISO 2000 +1.10 EV in post.

Look at the micro-contrast! It's insane!

I am thoroughly impressed, definitely a keeper.

Note: I'm not advocating that sharpness or lens is a determinant of how good a photo is. It's totally not. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I can take the same shot with a Holga and it would still look hawt (at least to my eyes).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wedding Prep

A common question people ask is, what does it take to shoot a wedding? There are so many different answers to this question, but I'll give it my best shot.

1. Knowledge. First of all, you've got to know what you're going to be up against. The timeline, the venue, possible weather conditions, etc. Visualize in your head how the day will play out, and then strategize where you should be standing while each event in the timeline is going on (you should also account for possible tardiness). Scope out the venues ahead of time, look for good portrait areas when the wedding party has time for photos. Plan out some shots, and plan out what kind of photos you're going to shoot.

2. Gear. Now that you have the knowledge, or at least have taken a good stab at it, you should be able to list the lenses and flashes that you will need to in order to get the planned shots. Try to pack light and bring what you need, don't bring your entire arsenal if you don't have to. For example, if you know the reception is going to be very dim and you can't use flash, bring a nice set of primes and leave the zooms in the car/at home. Bring at least two bodies so you don't have to change lenses. If you can't afford the gear you need, rent. If you can't rent, buy and sell used.

3. Back up gear. What happens if one of your bodies hits the ground? What if it malfunctions? Always bring AT LEAST two camera bodies, and some duplicate focal length lenses if you can. For example, if you bring a 14-24, 24-70, and 70-200, if your 24-70 stops working, you can still use the 24mm and 70mm of the other two lenses. A bit heavy and inconvenient, but you can still use 'em in a pinch.

4. Be Active, not reactive. Anticipate the moment. Continually play out what's going to happen next in your head so you know where to stand to get a good shot (angle and height wise). For example, if the room is pretty bland, but happens to have a large window, you don't really want to show the context of the room, but want some good shots of the bride getting ready. So you know you want to use the window to blow out the background to isolate the bride. You would change your camera to spot metering, meter off the bride's face, and anticipate the moment for a good expression or what you deem as a good photograph/scene.

Things happen very fast on wedding days, even those 12+ hour weddings. So be active in finding your shots. You should be able to walk into the room, and have an idea of what's going to happen, and where to get the best shot.

5. Practice/Experience. You've got to have experience in shooting portraits. People are counting on you to make them look good. You've got to know some basics on how to flatter the subject. You've got to be able to give direction when needed. The bride and groom are most likely not professional models, so they need a lot of direction.

You should also be able to walk anywhere and think to yourself, "Hm, this would be an awesome place for a portrait!" and have a billion ideas bouncing around your head on different photographs. This takes a lot of practice, a good exercise is Street Photography. Studying a lot of different photographers' work also helps. Not necessarily stealing though, but taking the concept and applying your own style to it.

6. Be relaxed, be confident. The last thing the bride and groom want is to be more stressed out. Being nice, fun, and confident really relaxes them.

These are what I think are the necessities to have before shooting a wedding. If you think you are lacking in certain areas, practice. Get friends, family, pets, and PRACTICE!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ace Hotel Portraits

My good photographer friends and I went to the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon today to practice shoot portraits for Michelle and John's wedding in two weeks. None of us are comfortable on the other side of the lens, so the expressions can be a little.. uncomfortable :)

I'd say it was a good practice run. Out of 12 frames at the Ace Hotel I had 5 keepers, which is not bad!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

First time at Street Photography!

My good friends Steve and Lloyd went out for a shoot at the waterfront this weekend. Our challenge was to take photographs of complete strangers! We are lucky we live in such a friendly city, two out of three of the people we asked were willing to give us their time to take some lovely photographs of themselves. Each of these sessions were about 5-10 minutes each, so it was good practice doing impromptu shooting.

First couple was Tim and Leah, a very nice and lovely couple that were waiting for a group of friends. We managed to snatch them for a few shots:

Then we saw Denise and Cameron enjoying the last sunshine before the rainy season kicks in.

Thanks everyone for allowing us to take these beautiful portraits of you! If you would like to get the full resolution pictures for printing, please contact me and I will send them to you, free of charge.

Til next time, when the weather is nice again, we shall meet again. Good night Portland, Oregon, USA, World, Universe.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Penelope needs your help!

Penelope's proud parents want to enter her into GAP kids, and I'm having trouble deciding which one I like best. Please help me out by choosing your favorite of the bunch in the comments!






Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Robin and Nathan get sealed!

I've photographed many weddings, but this was the first sealing I've shot at. For the uninformed such as myself before I was invited to come photograph the event, "sealing" is being married, forever! This is a big step as weddings end with "til death do you part". Here, you are married even after you die! Pretty sweet.

Anyway, here are the photos from Portland Oregon Mormon (LDS) Temple: