What does it take to deliver (a) a great client experience and (b) wonderful photos to enjoy and share for years to come? I'm sharing a little insight into the world of the, explaining my favourite tools that help me get a great job done!
1. My Camera: The Sony A7 III full-frame camera system
- What does "full frame" mean? - you might ask. It's a large light sensor, basically, which is the part of the camera that captures the light required to create a digital photograph. In my Sony the sensor size is 36mm by 24mm - measuring the same as a traditional film camera. The larger the sensor, the more light (and data) the camera can collect and - generally - the higher quality image I can capture for you. At 36mm by 24mm the sensor is much bigger than the sensors in our mobile phones. Despite today's camera phones boasting huge mega pixel cameras (for example, my Samsung S60 has a 64 MP camera!!), those pixels are typically squished into a smaller sensor, hence why you likely can't replicate the same quality of image with your mobile phone.
- A superb eye autofocus and tracking system (for both humans and animals!) means we can keep our focus on the composure and the photoshoot experience, and let the camera do the heavy lifting in ensuring your eyes are sharp in photographs whilst keeping that soft and blurry background that is synonymous with my style of photography.
- Dual media card slots - this enables me to take two copies of your photos on the go! In the unlikely event that a memory card becomes corrupt, damaged or lost, I have an immediate backup as soon as the shoot is finished. As i say: it's an unlikely event, but I like to be prepared and it gives us both comfort that no one's time is wasted rescheduling second shoots to capture images lost.
- Excellent in low-light scenarios due to high dynamic range and in-body stabilisation meaning even hand-held images remain sharp in low-light settings.
- Interchangeable lenses means I can change from one lens to another depending on my needs as a photographer. My go-to lens for portraits is the Sigma 85mm.
2. Portrait Lens
Just as important as the camera body is the lens I've got attached to it.
I love a long portrait lens like my Sigma 85mm, which is fast and capable of shooting 'wide open', which is what creates the separation between subject and background like you see here with this lovely photo.
Notice how Peyton is in sharp focus, but this focus quickly falls away - all detail is lost from the background, which you see here in the soft blurry glow of the backlit foliage behind her, lit with the setting sun on this photoshoot in Gloucester. This phenomenon, whereby the background softens, and light spots are rounded is called 'bokeh'. I'm always on about getting good bokeh in my portrait sessions!
So our focus, as the viewer of this image, is the subject, due to the contrast between sharp and soft, and with minimal distraction from background elements.
3. Off-camera lighting
I do love the images produced when we incorporate off-camera lighting like we see here with the Baldwin brothers!
Skin tones look fantastic straight out of the camera, and the flash can help separate our subjects from the background.
In this photoshoot I simply needed a bit more light on the faces and kept a fairly light-and-airy theme for this on-location portrait session(which meant the dramatic detail of the sky was mostly lost).
However, for other purposes I could expose for the sky, retaining that dramatic skyscape, and used the flash to keep the detail in our subject too.
4. Adobe Lightroom
Every single photoshoot gets imported into Adobe's Lightroom editing software.
Adobe Lightroom is the bread-and-butter of photo editing for many pros. From here I can make sure the entire gallery is edited consistently for things like warmth (known as white balance), colour and exposure. I can also perform some basic 'tidy-up' edits like skin softening and enhancing eyes in portraits with Lightroom.
(By the way, at the same time, this software makes another copy of the raw photo files in a separate external hard drive for me, so we've got a back-up copy in case something happens to my laptop!... and I have two of those external hard drives, and I make another copy! Am I paranoid? I like to think I'm prepared and have got you covered).
Yes... you may get photoshopped! For more 'high-end' retouching, including skin softening and toning, and colour-grading a suite of images, I will take the photo(s) into Photoshop.
I have also been known to swap faces from one photo to another - particularly for younger kids - where we maybe didn't quite get the right expression from the little one in the image/ composition that worked the best. This requires some more expert understanding of the photoshop features and takes a little time matching colours and luminance.
For more information or to discuss your next photoshoot please contact me using the form link below. I look forward to hearing from you!