I hear this a lot: students almost apologizing for “only” owning, say, a Digital Rebel camera, or a similar “starter” model. Because, they say, “of course you need a pro camera for pro results”.
Pro lenses, maybe. But pro camera? Not always, not at all. And even the lenses: this, for example, is student Veronic this morning, using a Yongnuo 50mm lens for Canon (a clone of the cheap Canon 50mm f/1.8, but cheaper):
If you were to see this at full size, you would see it competes very well with photos taken with my pro equipment.
Those of you who take my lessons learn all about this; for the rest of you: be a little skeptical with regards to what you read. Yes, equipment is important. But no, it is not always needed for a quality picture.
Today, I was reminded of how I should not let you all down – the many people who read this blog. Like one reader, Dr Jason Polak, who kindly dropped by in the studio today to have a chat.
(Hint: anyone near Ottawa, feel free to come say hi. The store is open 9:30AM–9pm weekdays, and slightly shorter hours at weekends). So anyway… I promise I’ll write more. Starting today.
One thing to write about is portraits. And how I love doing them. And how I like doing not just the “stand there and smile” pictures, but also slightly more creative pictures. You do not need to look at the camera smiling, not in every picture!
So here’s one I took this weekend—one of a series:
A simple shot; I used two speedlights with Honlphoto grids, driven by Pocketwizards; and one strobe in a softbox, also driven by a Pocketwizard. Took two minutes to set up.
…because some things never change. Like this, a repost from 2014:
A few things work very well in composing images. I shall reiterate a few of them here, using recent photos:
First, framing. It is often a good idea to frame the object you are shooting. Use overhanging trees. A window frame. Or get even more creative, like here:
Not that every frame leads to a good picture – but some do, so learn to spot them.
Another technique that we often like: use reflections. Like here, since water is often a good source.
What did I use in the picture above? Yes, my speedlight. On camera, and zoomed in to 125mm, even though the lens is wide. And as you see, I did not use the rule of thirds in the vertical sense: because I wanted to get the reflection in.
There there’s “close-far”. Use a wide lens and get close to something in order to show depth:
And one more picture just for fun:
That images uses the above, plus it uses the background in order to tell a story.
There’s more – like the use of colour, and simplifying. A bit of thinking goes a long way in composing your shots!
The point is not that one is better than the other. The point is that cropping a picture, or getting closer/farther, materially changes the nature of that picture. Think carefully when you compose (or afterwards, when you crop) a photo.
And by the way. B&W (Black and White, or monochrome) is still with us, and I suspect, and hope, that it always will be.