Enthusiast Photographer? Been asked to shoot a friends Wedding or family? A bit scared? How do you get the Professional Photographers Look? Well its actually quite easy!
It is all about bokeh or more importantly a fast lens with a very fast aperture like f1.4 of f2.0. f2.8 is great also and at medium telephoto (135mm) f4.0 is ok too. First step, throw away that kit lens! It is f3.5-5.6, plastic and crap. Its built to a price and it shows. Yes throw it away, or take $20 bucks on ebay for it at least.
Second step, invest in a fast optic….. well this costs serious money right? Yes and No. You can purchase a Canon or Sony or Nikon 50mm f1.8 for as little as $150-$200 to get started. My recommendation? Buy the Sigma 35mm f1.4 for $800-$900.
So 35mm on Full Frame, won’t I have to zoom? Yes, but thats what your feet are for! You will not believe how much better your photography will get with a prime lens! Think about it, your either shooting the bride and groom on location or doing group shots or candid shots. All medium to wide angle and the f1.4 will give you the bokeh that a Professionals photo has.
My favourite trick with this lens is putting something in front of the subject because I know the f1.4 will do its trick and blur the foreground while keeping my subject tack sharp. I got mine for just $700 so compare that to investing $2,500-$3,000 on a 24-70 f2.8 or 70-200 f2.8. Take a look at these shots, all on the 35mm f1.4 Sigma and you’ll be racing down to the store to order one!
For tight cropped close up details, you can get away these days with simply cropping in. Most Full Frame cameras are 20 – 24mb, so if you have to crop a fare bit from photos you have taken with the 35mm f1.4 you’ll still end up with a 12mb equivalent photo.
Here’s a few more I have taken recently with just the Canon 6D and Sigma 35mm f1.4. The only other tip you need is to move off Program and put the camera in Aperture Priority Mode. Select f1.4, let the camera set shutter speed. All you have to then is control the ISO setting. Good photographers will learn what the light is doing. You end up with a feel for when you need ISO100 or 400 or 800. Don’t be afraid to use the higher ISO settings like 1600 or 2000. I regularly use this ISO indoors (Church or Reception) with f1.4 and natural light. I personally hate the effect a Flash puts on a photo so I avoid it at all costs.
These simple tips means you concentrate on what you love, and thats photography, framing the shots, directing the subjects, making sure the sun (your light source) is in the right place. Go ahead create something beautiful!
Well the love of Photography and Diving would eventually lead to an Underwater housing for one of my cameras. This is my first time out with new Canon G1X MKII. I did lot of research from Compact Camera, to Olympus Micro 4/3s to Digital SLR and finally decided on the G1X MKII for the fact that the chip is nearly the same size as Nikon DX Digital SLR and you are given a fantastic 24mm F2.0 wide-angle as your starting point. Zoom up to 120mm may because useful for video, plus a 5cm Macro focusing mode. All this with a MF focusing zoom mode at 2X or 4X lead along with dedicated underwater white balance setting and an economic package 1/3 the cost of just a Digital SLR housing alone, meant this is a great choice!
Also this camera has a hotshoe and optical fibre TTL flash connections so a dedicated strobe can be added at some pont.
The photos and video attached are straight from camera, shot in RAW + JPG) (These are the straight JPEGS from Camera) with no post editing, so it shows the strength of the Canon’s underwater White Balance system.
Lastly this was in 5-8metre depth with good sunlight, no flash, ISO 800. I wasn’t able to get tack sharp photos because I was fighting a Surge at the time, but the Optical Image Stabilisation and Autofocus did a pretty amazing job, none the less!
When your on your way to Cairns from Brisbane you go through Mackay. One trip about 60km west of Mackay worth checking out is the Finch Hatton Gorge, Waterfall and Rainforest. A great place to stay is the Finch Hatton Gorge Cabins. 4×4 needed in the wet season, but in the dryer months a normal car is fine to cross the creeks to get there. Quite beautiful scenery, rainforest as impressive as SE QLD, not quite as impressive as Daintree. On the way worth grabbing a Aussie Pie at the Pinncale Pub or continue on to Eungella Chalet and onto the top to see the real live Platypus.
Beechworth is a nice little town nestled in the foot hills of the Victorian Snow Region in North East Victoria. Its famous for its Gold rush in the 1850s and the amazing Beechworth Bakery. I highly recommend the bakery as one of the best in Victoria for the great Australian Meat Pie.
May is a great time to visit this town as it is the change of season and the leaves are falling. These were just a few shots in and around the town that caught my eye.
Everybody who visits Byron Bay in NSW raves about the famous beaches like Wategoes. However some of the best parts or attractions can be found in the Hinterland. From the Pacific Highway (or soon to be Old Pacific Hwy) there is a lookout point off Coolamon Scenic Drive with great scenic vistas of the whole cauldron and bay that makes up Mount Warning, The Great Dividing Range, through to Murwillumbah and then onto the Byron Bay itself.
This vista is an amazing place and always super green, and on the right time of day can provide some amazing light to take in the very relaxing and scenic views. These are some of my favourite photos from the region.
These photos were taken on the NSW coast, south of Sydney in a little town called Kiama. I stayed here in May 2013 at The Sebel Kiama, which is a nice pleasant Hotel right on the door step of the town harbour. Very comfortable rooms and, quiet and away from any main roads, very pleasant.
Alongside the Harbour is this little Ocean filled swimming pool that fills from the Tasman Sea. At Sunrise it is quite a magical place. Also near here is the Blow Hole which is a hole in the rock where the ocean shoots up out of, on a good high tide. My luck I wasn’t around at high tide! But I don’t mind, I was up at 5am for these beauties, enjoy!
I used a Sony A77 with Sony’s 16-50 f2.8 (24-75 equivalent) lens at about f5.6/f8 to capture these images. This is a great lens, one of my favourites, quite high quality optic and perfect for Travel photography. This lens is also great when focusing in on the detail and keeping the background blurred.
While the A77 is just perfect for Travel with its flip out screen for FullHD movies, Panaroma mode for capturing wide spans and its Auto Dynamic Range mode.
After a flight from Brisbane to Adelaide (2000km) then a long 5hr drive to just the other side of the SA / VIC Border I stumbled past this paddock with Hay Bales at about 8:30pm on a Monday nite. I actually drove past it for about 5 km before I decided, nope that looked like some great photos back there. Turned the car around and drove back to capture these gems.
So glad I did, the sun was just at the right time when I got there, just about to dip below the horizon, which gave some nice reflections through the field. I then worked the angles for about 15 mins snapping away and I probably bagged 20 good shots from the 15 mins there. Great decision to turnaround.
And here’s the tip – So often we are travelling, and particularly with driving I find you get tired after some hours at the wheel, its still important to look to opportunities for photo ops. Even (as in this case) if it takes you 5km down the road before you turn back, its certainly worth it! Keep your Camera at hand even when your tired!
Next time your travelling, think of photo opportunities that will make great Black and White Photos. Its easy to change to BW in Photoshop or Light-room or even on your ipad but its not possible to turn BW to colour photo easily. So my tip is to think about how the light is falling and what will for interesting BW photos, that way you get the nice colour shot of your trip, but also potentially awesome BW photos.