We all have that one lens that we gravitate towards every time we pick up our cameras for me, it’s the 75-300mm f 4-5.6(you can get it here). For a lens of this range, it's smaller, lighter weight, cheaper than other lenses in this class. But don’t be fooled by this the lens is quite powerful and great for someone starting out or on a budget and need something with a large focal length.
I work primarily work outdoors and this lens is great for daytime shooting. When I shoot festivals it’s great for getting crowd shots and people milling around it also allows a very short me to get all the action on the stage, for portrait shoots gives a nice bokeh at longer focal lengths.
The glass quality in it is pretty good I can use a 13-year-old Canon 10D with it and still get great shots. There are a few downsides to this lens though there is no image stability, at longer focal lengths the images are little on the softer side, it needs a lot of light or higher ISO to get great images, and somewhat slow to autofocus. For me personally theses aren't big problems because of my shooting style, where I'm shooting
Depending on what you’re doing you can still make great use of this lens. If it is a little bit of learning curve trying to figure the best settings to maximise the lens used but that’s true of lens you buy.
If you're looking for something more powerful than this the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (you can get it here) is the way to go but just now the price goes up significantly but it’s sharper, not as slow to focus and doesn’t really have that softening problem. I still gravitate more 75-300 because of the fact that my gear gets too heavy with the other lens and I have to stop frequently due to a shoulder injury. I also don’t see a big enough image quality difference to warrant changing how I do things for now.
Have a favorite lens let me know in the comments below?
A couple of weeks ago I talked about the essentials needed for festival photography. Today I’m going to tackle what you will need to make any portrait shoot a success. Some of the things listed will be the same as last time because there are some things you should always have your camera bag. This list will be a tad long but everything here has saved a photo-shoot at one point in time. Ready? Here we go:
1. Bring Backup
Always have a backup SD/CF card you never know when you'll fill one or have one become corrupt and not know how to fix it (I have had both of these things happen, don't be like younger me bring a spare). Also, invest in good SD/CF cards and card readers (I learned this the hard way when I first started) the cheap ones break easily or simply give out after a few uses. I highly recommend using SanDisk Ultra cards they can be a little pricey but worth it (you can get SD cards here , you can get CF cards here). For card readers, I use Insignia they run around the same as SanDisk and can read every type of card imaginable (you can get the card reader here).
2. Bring a Spare
Spare batteries are always a great idea, external factors like heat can make your battery drain faster. You don't want to get half way through a shoot and have to stop because your batteries are dead. I've seen for some battery types portable battery charger if they make it for the type you use get it. Do whatever you can to extend your battery life (no battery = no shooting) if that means brings a car charger and charging backups while shooting then do it. Your client would rather you be prepared than have to stop because your cameras dead.
3. Messy Hair Be Gone
As an on-location portrait photographer, I have found the elements to be a challenge. Some days it’s windy, that can mess up a great hairstyle that your client spent hours trying to achieve. Your job is to give them the perfect photo-shoot, messy hair can ruin that. I know what you’re thinking I’ll photoshop it, well that’s hours of extra work you don’t have to do if just pack a comb and some bobby pins. At most you may have to erase to the bobby pin but that’s better than spending hours fixing fly away hairs or having to wait for the wind to stop to get your shot.
Having the right aperture is very important in capturing that perfect shot. Aperture can make or break a photo depending on what you're trying to achieve. Just in case you have no idea what I'm talking about here's a quick refresher on what aperture is:
Aperture refers to how open the hole in your camera lens is. Think of your lens like an eye, the aperture can be thought of as the pupil. As the aperture wheel (the part of the camera that sets the aperture) is turned the aperture (or pupil) gets bigger or smaller. The smaller apertures allow a lot of light to gets into the lens, the larger apertures allow less light into the lens. The larger the opening the smaller the aperture on the scale and vise versa the smaller the opening the larger the aperture. The diagram bulleted points explain this principle further:
*f-stop or f is is the ratio of how open the lens is, it refers to relative aperture to lens size. An f/1.8 means the aperture is completely open, because it's smallest f-stop on this lens (the one pictured) and the hole is largest here.
*When trying to show a range of f-stops we write them like this f1.8:4 that lets you know the smallest is f/1.8 and largest is f/4
*These are just commonly used f-stops there are more in between for example you could take a photo at a f/2.
Every photographer has a camera bag (if you don't you need one) whether it's a small bag that holds one camera to a full on backpack. Depending on what you're shooting will change what things are in your bag. Today I'm going talk about shooting festivals. I will come back to the topic at a later date and talk about other shooting conditions.
I'm not really going to talk about camera and lenses because there's so much more you need to survive the day than that (trust me there are so many things you need). If you're shooting professional then your DSLR with 70-200mm and 75-300mm (my fav. lenses) or whatever lens you have will work. If you're shooting from the crowd a good point and shoot camera can get you some great shots.
This list is kinda long but it covers everything that has saved my ass at one point in time. Ready? Here we go:
1. Bring Backup
Always have a backup SD/CF card you never know when you'll fill one or have one become corrupt and not know how to fix it (I have had both of these things happen, don't be like younger me bring a spare). Also, invest in good SD/CF cards and card readers (I learned this the hard way when I first started out) the cheap ones break easily or simply give out after a few uses. I highly recommend using SanDisk Ultra cards they can be a little pricey but worth it (you can get SD cards here, you can get CF cards here). For card readers I use Insignia they run around the same as SanDisk and can read every type of card imaginable ( you can get the card reader here).
2. Bring a Spare
Spare batteries are always a great idea, external factors like heat can make your battery drain faster. You don't want to get half way through the day and have to stop because your batteries dead. I've seen for some battery types portable battery charger if they make it for the particular type you use get it. Do whatever you can to extend your battery life (no battery = no shooting) if that means bringing a charger with you and plugin if you have some free time do it.
3. Fuel For the Body
Water and snacks are the unsung heroes of festival photography. Think about it, it's hot, you're outside, on your feet all day, and may or may not have time for a break (usually you have 5 minutes the bathroom might be more important than the concession stand). I normally pack a few granola bars, fruit snack(I know I'm still a kid at heart), pretzels, trail mix, or fresh fruit. Pack things you can eat quickly in between sets that doesn't take up too much space in your bag and can be easily open. As for water, a large reusable water bottle is best because you will be drinking a lot (the last festival I shot it was 102° water was vital) and need a refill. Try to get something you can attach to your to bag (I have a clip-on lens holder that I use to hold water it attaches to my camera bag and can hold a pretty hefty bottle).
Ashley is a Virginia based photographer living her dreams of shooting concerts & interesting people. When she's not shooting or writing for the blog you can find her curled up with a good book and a latte (coffee keeps her going).