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Author Topic: Increasing Photo Session Speed  (Read 7088 times)

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tab62

« on: December 30, 2012, 15:43 »
0
Hi MSG Folks,

The biggest complain I get from shooting people is that I take TOO LONG to click the photo! It seem that my AF focus takes for ever on some shots thus I have to keep trying until I get the focus where I want it. Any ideas on to snap faster pics? Can a lens have focus issues? I really want to keep my models happy if you get my drift...

Thanks


Tom





« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2012, 16:09 »
+1
sounds like an equipment issue. or f/stop. focusing should be the LAST thing to slow down a shoot

« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2012, 16:44 »
+1
It would help to know something about your shooting style.  Indoor or outdoor?  Natural light, continuous light or strobes?  Do you use the center focus point on your camera, which is generally the one that works best in low light, or do you choose one nearest your subject?  Does your camera have an autofocus assist light?

My guess is that there isn't enough light to make the autofocus happy.  More light (if you use strobes, turn on the modeling light) will certainly help.

tab62

« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2012, 16:58 »
0
Great comments! I do mostly indoor shots with speed lights thus I bet that there isn't enough light to get the AF to grab! Thus I really need a model strobe to address the low lighting- even in the day time (Seattle) the house is dark! This makes my day! Thank you.

Tom

ruxpriencdiam

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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2012, 17:29 »
0
Your working with a kit lens that is hunting and searching for areas of contrast to lock on so you are going to need to shoot using manual and use a prime lens.

steheap

  • Author of best selling "Get Started in Stock"

« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2012, 17:42 »
+2
I adjust the focusing mechanism on my Canon to only use on focus spot in the center of the screen, and I also change the menu options so that focus only occurs when I press the focus button on the back of the camera (ie I remove that function from the shutter button). All the shutter button now does is to set the exposure (unless manual) and take the shot - I have already focused using the back button with the focus point on the area of interest - the eyes of the model .

You could always turn the room lights on - if you are using flash, the house lights will help focusing, but not make any difference to the actual exposure and lighting conditions.

Steve

« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2012, 18:12 »
0
Yes you could use house lights and you don't NEED a prime lens though you would get better IQ

lisafx

« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2012, 19:03 »
+3
Yes you could use house lights and you don't NEED a prime lens though you would get better IQ


Yes, ambient light in your house should do just fine.  I also strongly agree with Steve's suggestion about making the center focal point your default (although I do leave my focus on my shutter button).  Takes only a moment to focus and recompose. 

Best thing I have done to speed up my shoots and get a lot more keepers was to invest in some inexpensive studio strobes.  I would never have believed the savings in time and aggravation over speed lights and/or hot lights. 

Something like this is a pretty cheap way to get started and should serve well enough until you start making the money to go into Alien Bees or similar.  I started with a similar all-in-one kit and I still use the background and light stands to this day. 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/CowboyStudio-360-Watt-2-MonoLight-Strobe-Softbox-Flash-kits-Backdrops-Support-/121029662995?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c2dee1913

Poncke

« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2012, 19:26 »
0
Thanks Lisa - I think that is something I should go for as well

ruxpriencdiam

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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2012, 19:33 »
0
Here are the lights you really need. Buy the best once or you'll be spending more and more trying to get to where you want to be.


http://www.adorama.com/FP1220APWK.html         

http://www.adorama.com/FP620MPWK.html   

lisafx

« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2012, 19:34 »
0
Thanks Lisa - I think that is something I should go for as well

Sounds good :)

I don't have the particular kit I linked to, but there are similar deals all over ebay, and if you want to spend a bit more there are some nice kits on B&H or Adorama. 

Edited to add Adorama because of the nice kits
ruxpriencdiam found there :)
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 19:37 by lisafx »

« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2012, 19:40 »
+1
I have a cheapo light kit like the one Lisa pointed to.  Got it for traveling; I can fit an entire studio set in my carry-on bag when I need to fly.  When I'm traveling by car (and once, by air), I have a pair of Paul Buff Einsteins and his parabolic umbrellas.  Love the Einsteins, especially when paired with his Cyber Commander trigger system.  Total control from the camera, and great light as well.

« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2012, 19:52 »
+1
Here are the lights you really need. Buy the best once or you'll be spending more and more trying to get to where you want to be.


http://www.adorama.com/FP1220APWK.html         

http://www.adorama.com/FP620MPWK.html


I see this advice all over the web, but the reality is that something now is better for some people than the best later. I've bought quite a bit of cheap gear over the years and still have most of it.

ruxpriencdiam

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« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2012, 20:12 »
-1
Here are the lights you really need. Buy the best once or you'll be spending more and more trying to get to where you want to be.


http://www.adorama.com/FP1220APWK.html         

http://www.adorama.com/FP620MPWK.html


I see this advice all over the web, but the reality is that something now is better for some people than the best later. I've bought quite a bit of cheap gear over the years and still have most of it.
Well I also happen to be an Automotive technician and have been for the better part of my life and you know what?

If everything I bought was the cheapest India or Japanese tools made I would still have them as well but would it get the job done as easily and quickly as the more expensive Snap On tools that have a Lifetime warranty and will always increase in resale value? No!

And I do have the cheap stuff but that is to make a tool that I may need that I cant get my hands on at the moment and can't wait a week or more to get from Snap On.

What happens in the middle of a paid shoot if the cheap lights fail? What does the customer think?

I buy my tools so I can complete the job in the most proficient way possible so the cutomer can move on without having to sit around and wait.

To be able to do a 20 hour job in 6 hours because you know what you are doing and how to do it and to have the proper tools to do the job is both great for you and the customer (your client) who doesn't have to waste their time sitting around waiting for you.

Wouldn't it be hell to have a paid shoot go bad and then the customer badmouths you? And we know how word of mouth and first hand knowledge is right?

Do you do business somewhere where you hear they are bad at what they do? Think not!

Poncke

« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2012, 20:15 »
0
What happens in the middle of a paid shoot if the expensive lights fail? What does the customer think?

ruxpriencdiam

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« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2012, 20:24 »
-1
What happens in the middle of a paid shoot if the expensive lights fail? What does the customer think?
The expensive lights have a failure rate of less then one failure per 10years of use.

Even then it is only a bulb and nothing internally that requires major work to fix.

You get what you pay for and quality comes with a price unmatched by anything or anyone!

EDIT To Add:

Do you use cheap Kit lenses or do you use the much better expensive Primes and top dollar Macros and zooms?
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 20:36 by ruxpriencdiam »

lisafx

« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2012, 23:46 »
+2

Do you use cheap Kit lenses or do you use the much better expensive Primes and top dollar Macros and zooms?

I'm not disagreeing with you.  When I need car repairs I want a guy like you (actually have a guy like you and he's been our mechanic for 15 years - love him!). 

My husband feels the same way about his electrical tools.  You know why?  Because he is a professional electrician, and you are a professional auto mechanic.  You need the best because it's how you guys make your living. 

If the OP can afford $500 for a starter kit that doesn't include backdrops, backdrop stand, softboxes, etc., but only the lights and umbrellas & lightstands, and they already have that other stuff, I say go for your kit.  It would be a solid choice.  Nothing wrong with that.   

But for most of us when we were just beginning in micro, we weren't doing professional shoots for clients.  We were shooting friends and family in front of a bed sheet lighted with speedlights or halogen shop lights from Home Depot, or some similar cobbled together setup. When you are just starting, sometimes it's get something low priced or make do with nothing at all. 

A nice $250 set that includes everything you need to start off with isn't too big an investment, but it is enough to make some professional looking images in your garage or livingroom.  And if you are talented and lucky, you will soon be making enough to afford the pro gear without it putting any hurt on your wallet. 

I see a LOT of people who over-invest in photography gear just to be able to say they have the best, but they never ever manage to make that investment pay off.  Fine if you have the extra money, but stupid if you are on a tight budget. 

JMHO. 
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 23:52 by lisafx »


« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2012, 00:46 »
+2
Quote
Well I also happen to be an Automotive technician and have been for the better part of my life and you know what?

If everything I bought was the cheapest India or Japanese tools made I would still have them as well but would it get the job done as easily and quickly as the more expensive Snap On tools that have a Lifetime warranty and will always increase in resale value? No!

And I do have the cheap stuff but that is to make a tool that I may need that I cant get my hands on at the moment and can't wait a week or more to get from Snap On.

What happens in the middle of a paid shoot if the cheap lights fail? What does the customer think?

I buy my tools so I can complete the job in the most proficient way possible so the cutomer can move on without having to sit around and wait.

To be able to do a 20 hour job in 6 hours because you know what you are doing and how to do it and to have the proper tools to do the job is both great for you and the customer (your client) who doesn't have to waste their time sitting around waiting for you.

Wouldn't it be hell to have a paid shoot go bad and then the customer badmouths you? And we know how word of mouth and first hand knowledge is right?

Do you do business somewhere where you hear they are bad at what they do? Think not!

I don't think that having less expensive gear makes someone "bad at what they do" any more than having great gear make someone good at what they do. I also wasn't saying that there isn't a difference in quality between inexpensive and pricey tools of any kind.

I was only saying that I would rather have a less expensive piece of gear right now than have nothing at all. I've always bought what I could afford at the time and then re-sold it to upgrade when I had more money later. That way, I always had SOMETHING to work with.

If that doesn't work for you, that's fine. Just remember that your way won't work for everyone, either.

tab62

« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2012, 02:12 »
0
Will the strobe light work with my speed lights? I've been told to be careful on different light sources - Some run around 5k (kelvin) while others are near 6k temp. Currently, I have six LP160 Speed lights.

Thanks.

Tom

Poncke

« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2012, 06:03 »
0

Do you use cheap Kit lenses or do you use the much better expensive Primes and top dollar Macros and zooms?

I'm not disagreeing with you.  When I need car repairs I want a guy like you (actually have a guy like you and he's been our mechanic for 15 years - love him!). 

My husband feels the same way about his electrical tools.  You know why?  Because he is a professional electrician, and you are a professional auto mechanic.  You need the best because it's how you guys make your living. 

If the OP can afford $500 for a starter kit that doesn't include backdrops, backdrop stand, softboxes, etc., but only the lights and umbrellas & lightstands, and they already have that other stuff, I say go for your kit.  It would be a solid choice.  Nothing wrong with that.   

But for most of us when we were just beginning in micro, we weren't doing professional shoots for clients.  We were shooting friends and family in front of a bed sheet lighted with speedlights or halogen shop lights from Home Depot, or some similar cobbled together setup. When you are just starting, sometimes it's get something low priced or make do with nothing at all. 

A nice $250 set that includes everything you need to start off with isn't too big an investment, but it is enough to make some professional looking images in your garage or livingroom.  And if you are talented and lucky, you will soon be making enough to afford the pro gear without it putting any hurt on your wallet. 

I see a LOT of people who over-invest in photography gear just to be able to say they have the best, but they never ever manage to make that investment pay off.  Fine if you have the extra money, but stupid if you are on a tight budget. 

JMHO.

Agree with all you said, and I am in the start up phase so I cant and wont pay for expensive gear now. I am saving up for a 5DmkII and 24-70 II so thats 2500 euros I need first. In the mean time I will spend another 200 euro on lights etc. So I think thats a good investment to start with.

« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2012, 07:38 »
0
What happens in the middle of a paid shoot if the expensive lights fail? What does the customer think?

The real pro has at least one extra light. I have had a couple of Elinchroms (not expensive, I'd say they are mid-range) that have failed during shoot. When they have failed, I have just changed it to a working one and the shooting has continued. The customers think I am professional because I have been prepared to some minor failures. I also carry around an extra camera house, and when the shoot is very important and I already know what focal lens I will use I sometimes have even a spare lens in the same range.

It's not professional to have all the latest new and shiny gizmos. It's about getting the job done and making some usable images.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2012, 07:42 by Perry »

« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2012, 07:49 »
0
The real expense of lighting equipment isn't the purchase price. It's more like: Expense = Purchase price - reparations - selling price.

If you buy crappy gear from a suspicious brand for $500, you can sell them for $100 or $0 (if they break)
If you buy better gear for $1000, you might sell them for $600 (if they break, they might be worth repairing, there are spare parts available etc.)
If you buy used better gear for $600, you might get $400 when you sell them

When you buy studio gear (especially strobes), you should think of it as buying a system. If you need light modifiers to some obscure system you might not find any. Or you don't find the thing you need. You would'n buy an obscure brand DSLR either if it had some strange bayonet and a lacking range of accessories?

I think buying used (good quality-) gear is a good option. If it's professional equipment with really light use, they will last very long. Hobbyists doesn't really know how much use good flashes can endure (I'm guessing some of my older Swiss made Elinchroms from 2005 have popped at least 100 000 times, with only one failure, and that was a minor one, replaced power switch). Just remember not to buy really old stuff, anything 2000-> should be good.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2012, 07:55 by Perry »

Poncke

« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2012, 08:18 »
0
What happens in the middle of a paid shoot if the expensive lights fail? What does the customer think?

The real pro has at least one extra light. I have had a couple of Elinchroms (not expensive, I'd say they are mid-range) that have failed during shoot. When they have failed, I have just changed it to a working one and the shooting has continued. The customers think I am professional because I have been prepared to some minor failures. I also carry around an extra camera house, and when the shoot is very important and I already know what focal lens I will use I sometimes have even a spare lens in the same range.

It's not professional to have all the latest new and shiny gizmos. It's about getting the job done and making some usable images.
You can have an cheap extra light as well. This was not about being pro, but about cheap against expensive gear.

« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2012, 10:05 »
0
What happens in the middle of a paid shoot if the expensive lights fail? What does the customer think?

The real pro has at least one extra light. I have had a couple of Elinchroms (not expensive, I'd say they are mid-range) that have failed during shoot. When they have failed, I have just changed it to a working one and the shooting has continued. The customers think I am professional because I have been prepared to some minor failures. I also carry around an extra camera house, and when the shoot is very important and I already know what focal lens I will use I sometimes have even a spare lens in the same range.

It's not professional to have all the latest new and shiny gizmos. It's about getting the job done and making some usable images.
You can have an cheap extra light as well. This was not about being pro, but about cheap against expensive gear.

Well, it became about being pro after the word "customer" was brought to the conversation :)

lisafx

« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2012, 11:37 »
+3
You can have an cheap extra light as well. This was not about being pro, but about cheap against expensive gear.

Well, it became about being pro after the word "customer" was brought to the conversation :)

Yes, but the word "customer" wasn't brought up by the OP.  It was brought into the discussion by someone else who didn't seem to understand the needs or budget of the original poster. 

If we want to have a discussion about the best strobes for a pro setup, for the money, that's a very worthwhile discussion, but it wasn't the topic of this thread. 

And Tom, on the light temp issue, I have found that my strobes and speedlights are close enough in color temp that they can be used together.  However the convenience and responsiveness of the strobes may make you want to retire the speedlights for studio work.  It did in my case. 


 

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