Wednesday, September 21, 2016

What's in my bag... European Travel assignment

During our travel shoot in Rome, Venice, Paris, Switzerland and London we have to make sure that the appropriate equipment is on hand. On this trip we decided to move our equipment around in the ThinkTank Streetwalker Harddrive Backpack. We have a ThinkTank rolling bag but didn't think it was appropriate for rolling on the cobble stone roads and sidewalks. Being a Nikon shooter of course we packed a couple of Nikon Cameras, lens and accessories...

Nikon D4S w/easyCover Silicone Protection Cover
Nikon P7100 Pro Compact Camera (backup camera carried in suite case)
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
Nikon 24-105mm f/4
Nikon 50mm f/1.8
Nikon 70-200mm f.2.8
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 PC (Perspective Control) lense for architectural photography
Sony Vaio 13.3" laptop w/Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom (fits in laptop slot at side of pack)
Apple iPad Air
Vanguard Carbon Fiber Tripod
Gepe Card Safe Extreme Watertight Memory Card Case
Lexar Professional CF Memory Cards
Sony XQD Memory Cards (Nikon Exclusive)
Vivitar 280 HV speedlight
2-Pocket Wizard Plus III's
Sekonic LiteMaster Pro L-478DR Light Meter
X-Rite ColorChecker Passport
Epson P-7000 Multimedia Storage Viewer for digital file backup
di-GPS for Nikon DSLR
SMDV Wireless shutter release for Nikon
CamRanger Wireless Camera Control
Variable ND filter, Circular Polarizer & Close-up filters
Rogue Gels Universal Lighting Filter Kit for speedlight
Arkon Hot Shoe Phone Mount & Andoer Dual Hot Shoe Speedlite Bracket Splitter for Nikon
RainSleeve Camera Rain Cover
Backpack Rain Cover (built in)
Additional batteries for cameras and flash unit.
Model Releases
Lens cleaning bulb, various chargers, cords and adapters...
And yes, "it all fits into the ThinkTank Streetwalker Harddrive Backpack".

Here's a list of other miscellaneous items that I carry (check-in) during travel photography assignments...
Updated to 4TB (2TB) Western Digital "My Passport" Portable USB Hard Drive
Sony XQD USB Adapter/Reader
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
Ankor external Battery to charge iPhone/iPad
Various AC Adapters for different countries
TSA approved locks on backpack, travel cases and suite cases.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Corrupt SD Card

In the middle of an important high fashion Commercial Jewelry photo shoot, my 16gig SD card took a dump.
Not to worry, my Nikon D800 has dual memory card slots, one SD and one Compact Flash (CF) slot.

Prior to the shoot I set the camera to "back up" mode. When shooting in "back up" mode, the camera  records the images to the SD card and the CF card simultaneously, thus creating a back up copy of each shot.

Photo copyright: Michael Montgomery/Positive Image
I removed the corrupt SD card and continue shooting with only the CF card. Photo shoot saved!!!

 It would have been very frustrating, expensive and time consuming to re-schedule the shoot, have the makeup artist re-apply the makeup and have the model repeat all of the poses.

Lessen learned...If you are on an important shoot and your camera(s) have the back-up capability, use it. If your camera doesn't have the "back up" capability, consider shooting to a couple of smaller capacity cards or spreading your shoot across a "few" larger capacity cards (e.i., 50 shots on one card and 50 shots on another). That way, should a card happen to take a dump (pun intended),  you would only lose a portion of the shoot instead of having to start all over again from scratch.

Also remember, only format your cards "in camera" with the camera you're using at that time.

Do you have any ideas on preventing loss of photos from a corrupt card? Let's hear them.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Are you using Model / Property Releases?

Do you use "Model" or "Property" releases? Do you post photos of Friends, Family, Acquaintances, Strangers or persons "Property" on web/media sites?

Easy Release is a Model/Property Release app for iOS, Android & Kindle devices.
Then consider this...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Creating The Perfect Photo Shoot

To create the perfect photo shoot, start by getting acquainted with the client/model prior to the shoot. Invite them to an informal coffee/lunch to take time and get familiar with each other. While you are there, ask and answer any questions pertaining to the model/client and the shoot. This allows you to break the ice, get the clients slant and offer suggestions to accomplish the shoot. To make it more personable, ask what their favorite snacks, drinks (non-alcohol) and other goodies they like and have these items on set prior to the shoot.

YouTube Video courtesy of  Matthew Jordan Smith

You've probably heard the saying "Music soothes the savage beast", well I don't know about the beast, but the use of the correct music can relax the model/client and set the mood for the shoot. e.i. romantic music for dramatic or romantic photos, hip hop for fun and active photos. (Again, ask the client what type of music they prefer?)

Prior to the end of the shoot ask the model/client if there is a certain shot that they have in mind and would like to try before the shoot is done. A lot of times those final trial shots become the winners.

The goal is to make the model/client as comfortable and relaxed with the photographer as possible. The results will show in the final images.

If you have any suggestions on how to better connect with the model/client post a comment in the comment box below.
Keep shooting!!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Importance of "Catch Lights" and "Highlights"

I see a lot of photos where you can not see the person's eyes in the photo. Not because the eyes are not in the photo, but because there is a lack of a "catch light" in the eyes making them look blank and lifeless. I call this the "Zombie" or "Dead Eye" look. (In the movies when they want to make a person look like the walking dead, the first thing is to darken the eyes). There's a saying that "The eyes are the window to the soul" and when there's no light in the subjects eyes, the subject looses some of the life in the photo.

No Catch Light (dead)
Catch Light in eyes (life)