Kat is a musician and operates a music instruction business that is literally a stone's throw away from my mailbox. I often see her going in and out of her studio when walking to the nearby grocery store.
One day we struck up a conversation and, naturally, I mentioned that I was a photographer. With a look of surprise she said, "Really? What a coincidence! My music partner and I were just talking about doing some promotional shots for our business."
Kat would go on to explain that she had teamed up with Laura, a cello player, and they were doing side gigs playing wedding receptions and various events. They wanted a few images to promote their own music (single portraits) and to promote their instrumental duo.
When I asked what Kat what kind of look or feel she wanted for the images, she replied, "Something with nature."
I told her I'd come up with something.
One evening a few days later, I was visiting a friend when I noticed a home in his neighborhood that featured a beautifully landscaped yard. The yard had fantastic rock formations, a stream and several trees that all screamed "nature." Another benefit of the location was its proximity to the road and a small area off to the side for parking. In short, the location was close to town, easily accessible and could be framed in a way to make it look like we were out in the middle of nowhere. Perfect.
I immediately knocked on the home's front door with the intent of asking the homeowner if I could use his yard for a shoot (a bit bold, yes). The homeowner wasn't home. I took a few pictures of the yard using my cell phone to document the location with a mental note to return again to introduce myself to the home owner.
I returned the following day with a typed, signed letter introducing myself to leave for the home owner just in case he/she was once again not home. When I pulled up to the home, the homeowner – a very nice gentleman by the name of Danny – was blowing the leaves and grass off his driveway obviously having just finished mowing. He looked a bit standoffish as I approached, likely because I looked like a traveling salesman or an evangelist walking down the driveway.
The first words out of my mouth set him at ease. "Don't worry, I'm not selling anything. I simply have a favor to ask. My name is Sean and I'm a local photographer..."
I continued to explain about my clients, their desire for a natural setting, and how the images were intended to be used. I complimented his yard and landscaping several times in the conversation (sincere flattery) and noted that I thought it would be absolutely perfect for their needs. A little to my surprise, Danny didn't even hesitate. "Sure, come over anytime. It doesn't matter whether I'm here or not. No need to tell me you're coming. Just be careful around the rocks."
I love the South. :-)
I emailed Kat the location images I had snapped with my phone and she thought the scene looked great. With the "go-ahead," we scheduled the shoot.
On the day of the shoot I arrived a little early to set up the lighting gear. Using the Photographer's Ephemeris web app, I knew that the sun would be positioned behind the spot I wanted to use around 4pm. This would have been ideal. Unfortunately, Kat and Laura were only available in the morning, meaning I would have to fight the sun which was positioned in front of them.
I tackled the direct sunlight problem by shading the duo with two umbrellas camera left (boomed above). I originally intended on shooting my tripod-based images with the umbrellas in the scene and then shooting a reference image without the umbrellas so that I could remove the umbrellas from all of the images in post. When the cloud cover arrived later in the shoot, I simply removed the umbrellas. All the example shots in this post occurred after we removed the umbrellas from the scene.
White Lightning x3200, camera left, diffused by an extreme silver parabolic umbrella (with diffusion cover in place)
Canon 580EX, camera left (behind subjects), 1/2 CTO gelled
You can see the setup below.
For my camera and lens, I used a tripod mounted 5D Mark III and one of my favorite lenses, the EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM with a Singh-Ray Vari-N-Duo. The 85mm focal length was a good fit considering that I had to position the camera on the other side of a ditch between the subjects and myself. Being pretty far back from the scene, the 85mm focal length also allowed for a not-too-tight / more loosely framed composition which would give Kat and Laura more ways to crop the image for a wide range marketing materials (letter, postcard, brochure, web, etc). The variable ND filter (mounted via a step-up ring) allowed me to utilize the lens's wider apertures (f/1.8 in this case) while keeping the shutter speed at or below the flash sync speed for a more blurred background.
While the setup was a lot of work, the results proved worth the effort (I think). Here were some of the individual promotional images we shot.
Kat and her Violin
Laura and the Cello 1
Laura and Cello 2
Always be on the lookout for good locations. You never know when and where you'll run across something that's just perfect.
Don't be afraid to ask permission to use a location. The worst they can say is "no."
Arrive ahead of your clients if you anticipate needing a decent amount of setup time. Doing so will ensure your clients are ready to shoot fresh upon arrival.
Frame loosely for promotional images that won't be used in a large format. Doing so gives your client much more flexibility to use the images on a wide range of materials with varying aspect ratios and typesetting needs.
In the end, the clients loved the images and even gave me a bonus on top of the agreed-upon fee. It proved to be a great session all-around.
You can find higher resolution images on my Flickr photostream:
Colorado is known for its big ranches and a big ranch calls for a grand entrance. The Last Dollar Ranch on Last Dollar Road near Dallas Divide (and RT 62) has one of my favorite such entrances. The huge mountains behind large golden fields fronted by a rustic wooden fence and of course, a grand entrance create a simply beautiful scene.
To make the entrance appear grand in the image, I moved in close and used a wide angle focal length.
Just looking at this photo brings back memories of the large heard of elk in the distance and I can still hear the large bull bugling. That is the power of an image.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr, Google+, 500px and Facebook. Also, if reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, 20th May 2015 – Bring Canon with you on your adventures and get shots worth sharing wherever the summer takes you with Canon cashback. Starting today you can get up to up to £50/€60 cashback on selected products in the UK and Ireland.
As the days grow longer and lighter, now’s the time to get outdoors and start exploring. Whether you’re looking for a superzoom camera with the PowerShot SX710 or a small and light DSLR like the EOS 100D, with great cashback offers on selected Canon products until 19th August 2015 you can choose your perfect companion to capture and share your pictures and movies this summer and beyond.
TOKYO, May 20, 2015—Canon Inc. and Canon Marketing Japan Inc. announced today that the Company's EOS 7D Mark II digital SLR camera (launched in October 2014) has been honored with two prestigious Camera Grand Prix (GP) Japan 2015 awards—“Camera of the Year” and “Readers Award”—while the EF11-24mm f/4L USM ultra-wide-angle interchangeable zoom lens (launched in February 2015) was selected for the “Lens of the Year” award. The Camera Grand Prix (GP) Japan awards, considered one of the most sought-after camera and lens product awards in Japan, are organized by the Camera Journal Press Club (CJPC), comprising journalists from major photography and camera magazines in Japan. This year marks the award's 32nd time to be held.
The Camera GP Japan 2015 Camera of the Year title was presented to the most outstanding camera from among the 111 models launched in Japan between March 1, 2014, and March 31, 2015. As further indication of the EOS 7D Mark II's overwhelming popularity, the camera was also honored with the Camera GP Japan 2015 Readers Award, based on an online vote by general users. In addition, the EF11-24mm f/4L USM took home the Lens of the Year award, resulting in Canon taking home three out of the four Camera GP Japan awards presented this year.
The EOS 7D Mark II, the Company's APS-C-size flagship-model digital SLR camera, delivers a fast continuous shooting speed of up to approximately 10 frames per second (fps) and employs a 65-point all cross-type AF system making possible superior AF performance.
The EF11-24mm f/4L USM, in addition to boasting an impressive minimum focal length of 11 mm to achieve the world's widest angle of view, minimizes the occurrence of chromatic aberrations and achieves superior image-quality performance from edge to edge.
Reason for Selection: EOS 7D Mark II
Camera GP Japan 2015 Camera of the Year: Comments from Camera GP Japan 2015 Executive Committee
Selected for the prestigious Camera of the Year award, the EOS 7D Mark II was lauded for its fast continuous shooting speed of 10 fps, 65-point all cross-type AF system, and other advanced features that, according to the committee, befit a flagship-level digital SLR camera. The camera was also recognized for bringing these high-level features together into an easy-to-use design, enabling users to effortlessly capture not only moving subjects, but any type of subject. Furthermore, the jury members highlighted the camera's “revolutionary” anti-flicker function, which ensures optimal exposure when shooting in environments lit by fluorescent or mercury-vapor lighting. The EOS 7D Mark II was said to be the only digital SLR camera equipped with an APS-C-size sensor that made its presence felt and, thanks to its telephoto effect, continuous shooting speed and other features, once again brings new value to the APS-C-size sensor format.
In addition, the committee noted that Canon's promotional efforts in Japan were successful in generating buzz for the camera, lauding the Company's marketing materials, which included seven catalogues that each focused on a different photography genre, as appealing and easy to understand.
Camera GP Japan 2015 Readers Award: Selection of comments from general users
“I feel that the EOS 7D Mark II stands out from all cameras currently on the market thanks to its ability to capture moving subjects, such as when shooting sports and animals.” (Male, 57 years old)
“This is an amazing camera; I can focus on capturing great photographs with no stress at all.” (Female, 29 years old)
“Advances made over these past five years were not just for show. Thanks to the EOS 7D Mark II's expanded AF area as well as its improved AF pattern and accuracy, I feel that the camera is exceptionally easy to use.” (Male, 29 years old)
“The EOS 7D Mark II achieves a level of performance befitting the true successor to the EOS 7D (released in October 2009), and is offered at a price that is not hard to save for. The camera includes all of the functions and advances that everyone was hoping for, and is quite simply the standout model from these past few years.” (Male, 23 years old)
“Offering a 10 fps continuous-shooting speed, an AF system capable of tracking moving subjects, and a metering system, this camera truly is a flagship-level APS-C-size model. Just what you'd expect from Canon—the EOS 7D Mark II really is an amazing camera.” (Male, 42 years old)
“You could say that, thanks to its fast continuous shooting speed, the EOS 7D Mark II is the preeminent APS-C-size SLR camera. I feel that this camera is the epitome of Canon truly taking to heart the unique requests of advanced-amateur users.” (Male, 41 years old)
“After trying out this camera, you'll realize that it was designed to enable you to capture that most crucial moment. Furthermore, because you can change settings while looking through the viewfinder without having to pull away to look at the monitor or window, the camera delivers a remarkable user experience that drives home the feeling that you are capturing photographs.” (Male, 30 years old)
“I feel that the EOS 7D Mark II is the best camera out there; it delivers superior expressiveness regardless of shooting conditions, and a level of AF performance that ensures crucial moments are never lost, and offers an overall balance that makes it stand out above the rest.” (Male, 56 years old)
Reason for Selection: EF11-24mm f/4L USM
Camera GP Japan 2015 Lens of the Year: Comments from Camera GP Japan 2015 Executive Committee
Winner of the 2015 Lens of the Year award, the EF11-24mm f/4L USM ultra-wide-angle zoom lens was recognized by the committee for achieving the world's widest angle of view starting at a minimum focal length of 11 mm, without any of the image distortion unique to fisheye lenses. The committee also noted that, thanks to the generous use of cutting-edge optical technologies and lens-coating technologies, the EF11-24mm f/4L USM effectively corrects for aberrations commonly associated with ultra-wide-angle lenses, delivering a level of image quality capable of supporting use even with cameras with high pixel counts. Concluding, the committee said that the lens offers specifications and a perspective that are “truly unique.”
When you travel, time seems to fly by. Don't regret it later because your experiences are too extraordinary to remember with photos that are just "good enough." The places you go, the people you meet and your adventures of a lifetime are worth getting the right shot with a Canon camera.
Tamron lens users can post and share photos with dedicated hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to earn a spot on the Tamron USA website
May 19, 2015, Commack, N.Y - Tamron USA announces its #WithMyTamron social media initiative, exclusively offered to all Tamron USA lens users. Participants simply capture photos with their favorite Tamron lenses, tag them with the #WithMyTamron, and upload them to their public Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Photographers may also directly upload from their device, computer or Facebook photos for consideration in the #WithMyTamron gallery at www.tamron-usa.com by using the "Submit a Photo" button.
Tamron staff will select their favorite photos tagged with the #WithMyTamron hashtag to appear on the Tamron USA website, where even more viewers-from budding photo enthusiasts to pros-will be inspired by real images taken by real people with Tamron's unmatched lens lineup.
Users will be able to search for and share photos with the #WithMyTamron hashtag on social media, fostering a community of dedicated Tamron aficionados who want to see what others are capturing with their own Tamron lenses.