Portrait Photographers Miami l Celebrity Portrait Photography Florida http://briansmith.com Celebrity portrait photographer Brian Smith Pictures iconic portraits of Hollywood's A-List and Fortune's 500. Portrait photographers in Miami Beach Florida Wed, 23 Jul 2014 19:23:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 COOL GEAR: Libec ALLEX S Tripod, Head & Slider Kit http://briansmith.com/libec-allex-s-kit-tripod-head-slider/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=libec-allex-s-kit-tripod-head-slider http://briansmith.com/libec-allex-s-kit-tripod-head-slider/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:30:24 +0000 http://briansmith.com/?p=18131 If you’re looking for a great video tripod, video head and slider combination, this versatile compact system from Libec might be just what you’re after. Libec ALLEX S KIT (Shipping August 2014 – order here) combines a Tripod, Head and Slider into one handy kit that allows you to slide, pan and tilt your camera […]

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If you’re looking for a great video tripod, video head and slider combination, this versatile compact system from Libec might be just what you’re after.

Libec ALLEX S KIT (Shipping August 2014 – order here) combines a Tripod, Head and Slider into one handy kit that allows you to slide, pan and tilt your camera elevated on a tripod. You can position the slider slanted at various angles on the tripod and capture smooth, diagonally moving shots. Two padded carrying cases are included, one for the tripod and head – the other for the slider. Both have shoulder straps for easy transport.

Allex-S-KitALLEX S KIT combines tripod, video head and slider

The sliding range is 28″ and payload is 33 lb when used on a tabletop. The slider carriage has a 3/8″-16 threaded mounting stud, which directly supports the flat bottom of the dual base ALLEX H head. A friction knob allows you to adjust sliding tension, and a brake knob sets the sliding carriage in one place. A bubble level conveniently sticks out on the side so you can measure if your positioning is even.

If you’ll be using the slider on the ground or tabletop, you’ll be able to adjust the height of the feet on either side if necessary. The feet simply screw in or out to be adjusted, and are tightened in position by knobs above them. 1/4″-20 and 3/8″-16 threads are available on the top ends for attaching articulating arms with lights and other gear, and along the bottom for mounting the slider on two tripods. Rosette adapters are available on both sides for attaching rosette accessories.

Order: ALLEX S KIT

The ALLEX S KIT is made up of:

ALLEX T Tripod is an aluminum tripod with three leg sections and a mid-level spreader that increases stability. The spreader doesn’t raise or lower to be adjusted but conveniently telescopes out to full width. The legs have rubber foot pads on the ends and integrated metal spiked feet within the pads. The rubber pads retract to reveal the spiked feet for use on soft ground, such as on grass. The tripod has a minimum height of 29.5″ and reaches a max height of 64.5″. The leg stages and spreader tighten into position by twist knobs. The ALLEX T features a 75mm bowl base, which directly supports the head and slider.

Allex-T-Tripod
Order: ALLEX T Tripod

ALLEX H Head is a fluid head supporting up to 9 lb of load. It has a dual base design consisting of a 75mm ball base and a flat base bottom. The flat base, featuring a 3/8″-16 mounting thread, can be useful for attaching the head to various other flat base gear. The ALLEX H features a 360° pan angle and +90°/-80° tilt angle. A sliding quick release camera plate is included with a 1/4″-20 mounting screw and video pin. A 3/8″-16 mounting screw is also supplied as a spare, and it installs for safekeeping into a thread under the plate. The camera plate comes off at the press of a knob on the side of the head. A pan handle is also included and can be attached to rosette adapters on the left or right side.

Allex-H-Video-Head
Order: ALLEX H Head

ALLEX S Slider features greased ball-bearing wheels within the slider carriage, two hugging the slider rails from each side and four sitting on top, allowing for smooth motion without any wobbling. The tabletop legs are integrated and fold back flat against the rails when you’re ready to pack the slider away, so you won’t have to spend time removing them. A dual base tripod mount clamp, featuring a 75mm ball base design with a flat bottom, allows direct compatibility with the ALLEX T tripod as well as flat base tripods.

Allex-S-Slider
Order: ALLEX S Slider

For even more versatility, add an extra ALLEX H to the ALLEX S Kit to slide diagonally or vertically:
Allex-S-kit-plus-H
Libec ALLEX S KIT + ALLEX H Head

Check out the ALLEX S KIT in action.

ALLEX T Tripod

• 3-section aluminum tripod with telescoping mid-level spreader
• Rubber foot pads and integrated spiked feet
• 29.5″ minimum height
• 64.5″ maximum height
• Tightens into position by twist knobs
• Carrying case with a shoulder strap and zipper
• 75mm bowl base

ALLEX H Head

• Dual base head with a 75mm ball base and flat base
• 9 lb payload
• 360° pan angle
• +90°/-80° tilt angle
• Tilt lock
• Includes quick release camera plate and dual side rosette-mount pan handle
• Rosette adapters on both sides
• 1/4″-20 mounting screw and video pin
• 3/8″-16 spare mounting screw
• Fixed counterbalance and drag
• Illuminated bubble level

ALLEX S Slider

• Greased ball-bearing wheels on the sides and top allow for smooth, wobble-free motion
• Integrated, collapsible tabletop legs
• Height adjustable feet
• Dual base tripod mount clamp (75mm ball base/flat base)
• 28″ sliding range
• 33 lb payload
• Tension adjustment knob
• Brake knob
• Bubble level
• Padded accessory case

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MIOPS: Smartphone Controlled High Speed Camera Trigger http://briansmith.com/miops-smartphone-high-speed-camera-trigger/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=miops-smartphone-high-speed-camera-trigger http://briansmith.com/miops-smartphone-high-speed-camera-trigger/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://briansmith.com/?p=18101 If you’re looking for a great remote trigger and can wait until December to get it, check out the Kickstarter campaign for MIOPS high-speed photography camera trigger with built-in sensors for light, sound, and laser. MIOPS sensors detect external events within milliseconds and trigger the camera or flash accordingly. MIOPS delivers all of the features […]

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If you’re looking for a great remote trigger and can wait until December to get it, check out the Kickstarter campaign for MIOPS high-speed photography camera trigger with built-in sensors for light, sound, and laser.

MIOPS

MIOPS sensors detect external events within milliseconds and trigger the camera or flash accordingly. MIOPS delivers all of the features required for high-speed photography in a single unit and provides advanced features via a total integration with the smart-phone platform. You can control MIOPS with your smart-phone over Bluetooth to adjust settings using dedicated smart phone application and send them to MIOPS with a simple click on your phone.

MIOPS-SmartPhone

You can either use MIOPS for basic functions like high-speed and lightning photography, but you can also let him perform complex scenarios like combining different modes in the same setup.

MIOPS-High-Speed

MIOPS is expected to ship in December 2014. Check out the MIOPS Kickstarter page for your chance to pre-order and save with pricing of $189 for the Basic model or $199 for the Ultimate bluetooth-enabled model. Sony A7/A7R/A7S users will need to pick up a $10 2.5mm Stereo to multi-terminal Remote Connecting Cord.

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Metabones Smart Adapter IV for Sony A7/A7R/A7S http://briansmith.com/metabones-smart-adapter-iv-sony-a7-a7r-a7s/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=metabones-smart-adapter-iv-sony-a7-a7r-a7s http://briansmith.com/metabones-smart-adapter-iv-sony-a7-a7r-a7s/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:00:09 +0000 http://briansmith.com/?p=18058 Metabones updates their AF Smart Adapter for Canon EOS to Sony E-mount Metabones Canon EF to Sony E-Mount Smart Adapter IV has a larger interior opening for improved performance with tilt-shift lenses and better anti-reflection interior coatings to better tame internal reflections than the previous version Metabones Smart Adapter III. Metabones Canon EF to Sony […]

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Metabones updates their AF Smart Adapter for Canon EOS to Sony E-mount

Metabones Canon EF to Sony E-Mount Smart Adapter IV has a larger interior opening for improved performance with tilt-shift lenses and better anti-reflection interior coatings to better tame internal reflections than the previous version Metabones Smart Adapter III.

Metabones-Smart-Adapter-IV
Metabones Canon EF to Sony E-Mount Smart Adapter IV

“Smart Adapters” retain electronic communication between the camera and lens to provide automatic aperture control, EXIF data, image stabilization and autofocus. The adapter is powered by the camera body, so no external power source is required. The Mark IV provides the same functions as the Mark III but provides optimized performance and an improved internal structure.

The Smart Adapter IV offers two distinct operation modes: Green and Advanced modes. Each mode supports a different set of features and is selected when you mount the lens. Green mode is the default mode and it is designed to conserve battery power by limiting aperture diaphragm movements and image stabilization. Certain other functions are not available in Green Mode including Auto-Magnify MF Assist and DOF preview.

Only Canon-branded lenses introduced in or after 2006 are officially supported. Autofocus may be disabled for older Canon non-SSM lenses and most third-party lenses, including most Sigma, Tamron and Tokina lenses and all Contax N lenses modified by Conurus. This Smart Adapter is also compatible with fully manual lenses which have no electrical contacts. For a list of reported compatibility with specific lenses please see the Metabones website.

Order Metabones Canon EF to Sony E-Mount Smart Adapter IV
  • True electronic integration of aperture diaphragm; lets camera automatically choose aperture in Program or Shutter Priority exposure modes, or set it manually on the camera body in Aperture Priority or Manual modes.The adapter is powered by the camera body, so no external power source is required.
  • Two distinct operational modes are supported by the Smart Adapter IV: Green mode and Advanced mode. Green mode limits certain features and disables others in order to conserve the camera’s battery power.
  • Wide-Open button enables aperture to remain open for clear manual focusing.
  • Auto-Magnify/AF Assist enlarges the image in the viewfinder for easier manual focusing. This feature requires the AF/MF switch of the Canon EF mount lens to be set to the MF position and also requires a Canon EF mount lens that supports distance information. Auto-Magnify/AF Assist is disabled in Green mode.
  • High performance 32-bit processor and efficient switched-mode power supply.
  • Compatible with Sony E-mount full frame cameras such as the Sony A7, A7R and A7S. The Mark IV adapter supports auto “APS-C Size Capture” with EF-S lenses as well.
  • Supports distance and zoom display on VG and FS series camcorders and auto magnify on lenses that support distance information
  • Compatible with select fully manual lenses which have no electrical contacts.
  • Both camera-side and lens-side of the adapter are made of brass, precision-machined and plated with chromium.
  • Precise fit and solid connection – lens has no play, gap or wiggling when mounted on adapter and no adjustments are required to fit your lens.
  • Designed to reach infinity focus while maintaining the correct registration distance required to maintain optical quality of CRC lenses or lenses with floating elements.
  • Metabones uses matte-black treatment to keep internal reflection to a minimum in order to maintain the maximum optical quality possible with the lens.
  • Satin surface finish matches lens and camera mounts.
  • A third party zoom lens may need to be registered with the Smart Adapter first in order to detect its maximum aperture. Autofocus is disabled for most third-party lenses.
  • Only Canon-branded lenses introduced in or after 2006 are officially supported. Autofocus may be disabled for older Canon lenses and most third-party lenses, including most Sigma, Tamron and Tokina lenses and all Contax N lenses modified by Conurus.
  • The adapter’s tripod foot is detachable and compatible with Arca Swiss-style Quick-release heads.

Read my Guide to the Best lens Mount Adapters for Sony E-Mount Cameras:

Sony A7/A7R/A7S Lens Mount Adapters – Part 1: Sony, Leica M, Canon EOS & Nikon lens mount adapters
Sony A7/A7R/A7S Lens Mount Adapters – Part 2: Legacy lens mount adapters for Contax, Canon FD, Hasselblad V, Leica R, Minolta MD and others

Order Metabones Canon EF to Sony E-Mount Smart Adapter IV

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Ultimate Guide to Sony A7/A7R/A7S Camera Accessories http://briansmith.com/sony-a7-a7r-accessories-guide/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sony-a7-a7r-accessories-guide http://briansmith.com/sony-a7-a7r-accessories-guide/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 13:00:41 +0000 http://briansmith.com/?p=17911 If you bought your Sony A7/A7R/A7S camera with a lens, then you basically have everything you need to begin shooting. But depending on the type of photography you’re doing, there are some accessories that can really come in handy. Let’s start with some must-have accessories for your photography. External Chargers and Batteries My first suggestion […]

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If you bought your Sony A7/A7R/A7S camera with a lens, then you basically have everything you need to begin shooting. But depending on the type of photography you’re doing, there are some accessories that can really come in handy. Let’s start with some must-have accessories for your photography.

External Chargers and Batteries

My first suggestion is to buy an external charger and extra batteries. Sure, you can always plug the cord that came with your camera into an electrical outlet to charge your camera battery, but it’s pretty hard to shoot with your camera plugged into the wall. It’s much better to purchase a Sony BC-TRW battery charger and a couple extra Sony NP-FW50 Lithium-Ion batteries. If you have the older style W-battery chargers from NEX, they’ll work just fine, but the BC-TRW battery charger has nice features like charge indicator lights and a USB terminal that allows you charge another accessory.

BC-TRW-charger-NP-FW50-batteries
BC-TRW battery charger and Sony NP-FW50 Lithium-Ion batteries

AC Adapter

Sony AC Adapter AC-PW20 powers your A7/A7R/A7S camera from an AC outlet. This comes in handy when the camera is being used near an AC power supply for extended periods such as for studio sessions, when uploading files to a PC, or when shooting long time lapse sequences.

Sony-AC-PW20
Sony AC Adapter AC-PW20

Lens Mount Adapters

One of the best features of mirrorless cameras is that, due to their thin body design, it’s possible to mount a huge array of lenses on them using lens mount adapters. As the first fullframe mirrorless cameras, Sony’s A7/A7R/A7S are the only cameras that allow you to use virtually every make of 35mm lenses with the full angle of view for which those lenses were designed. There are far too many option to mention here, so they’ve discussed in detail in this Two-part Guide to the best lens mount adapters for Sony E-Mount cameras:

Sony A7/A7R/A7S Lens Mount Adapters – Part 1: Sony, Leica M, Canon EOS & Nikon lens mount adapters
Sony A7/A7R/A7S Lens Mount Adapters – Part 2: Legacy lens mount adapters for Contax, Canon FD, Hasselblad V, Leica R, Minolta MD and others

Sony-la-ea3-ea4-adapters
Sony LA-EA3 and SonyLA-EA4 lens mount adapters

Memory Cards

Shooting with a fast memory card allows you to shoot even longer burst without buffer slowdowns. Good memory cards are one of the best investments you can make in maximizing the performance of your camera. I use Sony SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 memory cards because they offer outstanding performance at a great price. I use the 32gb SDHC 10 UHS-1 cards for stills, but if you plan to shoot video – you may wish to get the larger 64gb SDXC 10 UHS-1 cards to access XAVC S video format.

Sony-SDHC-Memory-Cards
32gb SDHC 10 UHS-1 memory card and 64gb SDXC 10 UHS-1 memory card

SD Card Cases

Nothing’s worse than searching around your camera bag trying to find a tiny SD card. Delkin Secure Digital card cases or Vidpro Power 2000 SD Memory Card Cases can make quick order out of that chaos. To better keep track of which cards I’ve shot, I turn the cards face down once I’ve used them.

Delkin-Secure-Digital-8-card-case
The Delkin Secure Digital 8-card carrying case

Software

Lightroom-5Adobe Lightroom 5 is one of the best “upgrades” you can buy if you want to get the most out of your Sony camera. It does a great job processing Sony RAW files – particularly by allowing you to reduce noise at high ISOs without loss of detail.

The current version LR 5.5 supports all three cameras and includes lens profiles for all the current Sony FE lenses.

There are several extremely plugins available for Lightroom. Adobe DNG Flat Field plug-in is a very handy tool for creating lens profiles for wide angle rangefinder lenses used to correct an optical phenomenon called shading, also known as “lens cast”.

Vertical Grip

Sony’s VG-C1EM vertical grip holds two batteries, which allows you to double the battery life of the camera. When the first battery runs out, the camera automatically switches to the second. The grip also adds a second shutter release button positioned for vertical shooting. The grip adds a bit of heft and gives you more to grip when shooting with longer, heavier lenses.

Vertical-Grip
Sony VG-C1EM vertical grip adds a vertical release button and allows you to double your battery capacity.

Hot-Shoe Flashes

The A7/A7R includes a new multi-interface hot shoe, which allows the camera to be paired with many new accessories for stills and video production. Sony makes three flashes that fit directly into the multi-interface shoe: HVL-F20M, HVL-F43M, and HVL-F60M.

The HVL-F20M is perfect when you want a soft fill of flash up-close or when you want to wirelessly trigger another Sony flash. HVL-F43M is the best overall choice as it’s nicely balanced in size and weight to the A7/A7R/A7S. HVL-F60M tops out this trio with a guide number of 60 for times you need maximum power.

HVL-F20M-F43M-F60M
Sony HVL-F20M, HVL-F43M and HVL-F60M flashes add power and flexibility to your flash photography.

Flash Triggers

Flash triggers like PocketWizards are the best way to fire studio flashes with the A7/A7R/A7S. The transmitter fits right into your camera’s multi-interface shoe to trigger the receivers placed on your strobe packs. PocketWizard III transceivers offer 16 channels plus multiple zones. If you don’t need that many channels, you can save a few dollars with their scaled-down version, the PocketWizard X.

Sony A7R
Sony A7R with Pocket Wizard III

Remote Commanders

Wireless remote commanders allow a hands-off approach to triggering a tripod-mounted camera or achieving extra-long exposure times. Sony RM-VPR1 remote control with multi-terminal cable allows you to trigger long exposures without touching your camera. Another remote trigger that comes in handy is Sony RMT-DSLR2 wireless remote commander. This wireless release triggers your shutter by sending an infrared signal to the camera’s remote port, ensuring that you don’t shake the camera as you fire it.

RMT-VPR1-DSLR2
Sony RM-VPR1 remote control with multi-terminal cable and Sony wireless RMT-DSLR2 remote commander

Quick-Release Plates and L-Brackets

The biggest pain of using a tripod is tightening and loosening the tripod threads into the camera baseplate. That’s where quick-release plates come in handy. The Arca-Swiss dovetail has become the industry standard quick-release, so you’ll find a wide range of compatible quick-release plates and L-brackets. Neewer makes a great L-Bracket for Sony A7/A7R/A7S that still allows easy access to the slots on the side of the camera. I leave these on my cameras all the time as they also function like a roll bar surrounding the camera with a layer of added protection.

Neewer-L-Bracket-Sony-A7
Neewer Quick Release L-Bracket for Sony Alpha A7/A7R

Tripods and Heads

If you buy only one accessory for your photography, do yourself a favor and make it a tripod. In general, any tripod is better than no tripod at all. A tripod helps you take sharper photos and lets you shoot in any lighting condition. So how do you go about choosing the right one for you? The main considerations are weight, height, head, and of course, cost.

Acratech-GP-Ballhead

Acratech GP ball head

One of the determining factors when purchasing a tripod is the type of head that it employs to secure the camera to the legs. There are three basic types of tripod heads: ball heads and pan heads for stills and fluid heads for video.

Ball heads use a simple ball joint that allows you to freely position the camera in any upright position and then clamp it down securely. Ball heads are flexible and quick to use. Especially if, like the Acratech GP Ball head. they include quick-release clamps compatible with Arca-style camera plates and L-brackets for ease of use and efficiency.

Travel Tripods

The weight of your tripod will probably determine whether or not you will actually carry it along with you farther than the parking lot. Many different types of materials are used in tripods today. The lightest is carbon fiber, which is probably the most expensive as well. More than likely, you should consider an aluminum tripod that is sturdy and that has a weight rating that is suitable for your camera and lenses.

Make sure that the tripod extends to a height that is tall enough to allow you to shoot from a comfortable standing position. Nothing ruins a good shoot like a sore back. Taller tripods need to be sturdier to maintain a rigid base for your camera. You will also want to consider how low the tripod can go. If you want to do macro work of low-level subjects such as flowers, you will need to lower the tripod fairly close to the ground. Many new tripods have leg supports and center column mechanisms that allow you to spread the legs very wide and get the camera low to the ground.

3-Legged-Thing-Brian
The 3 Legged Thing X1.1 Brian Evolution 2 carbon fiber tripod extends to 78.7 inches, yet folds to a mere 16.5 inches for easy packing when traveling.

Value priced alternatives include the Oben CT-3561 Carbon Fiber Tripod With BE-117T Ball Head and the Benro A1692TB0 Travel Angel II Triple Transfunctional Aluminum Tripod.

sony a7r camera review sample photo with 70-400 g lens la-ea4
Sony A7R | SAL 70-400mm F4-5.6 G with LA-EA4 Mount Adapter | 1/40 | F5.6 | ISO 1600
Shot on Benro A1692TB0 Travel Angel II Tripod – a solid tripod helps lock down a vibration-free shot.

Video Tripods

Smooth pans for video all begins with a good video head – which can be the difference between smooth video and shaky cam. Benro makes great video tripod and fluid video heads at a reasonable price. Benro S6 Video Head and A2573F AL Tripod is a good entry video head and legs combination for the Sony A7/A7R/A7S or for even smoother pans, move up to the larger S8 video head with the Benro S8 Pro Video Head and A3573F Series 3 AL Tripod – it’s larger, heavier video head makes for even smoother camera moves and it’s hard to beat for under $500. If you’re looking for a pro video tripod, Benro H10 Video Tripod Kit with Carbon Fiber Legs will meet your needs.

Benro-S8-Video-Head
Benro S8 Pro Video Head and A3573F Series 3 AL Tripod

Stabilizing Rigs

Steadicam Merlin 2 Camera Stabilizing System lets you go where the scene takes you–up or down steps, indoors and out, through crowds–almost without limitation. The Merlin 2 weighs just 1.4 lb and can handle cameras up to 5 lb in weight. It gives you precise, elegant control for dramatic, professional you-are-there footage. The quick-release mount lets you instantly switch between your stabilizer and any tripod. This system utilizes a metal gimbal for smooth camera movement.

The Steadicam Solo Stabilizer & Monopod quickly converts back-and-forth between a Steadicam and monopod, handily providing the functions of both in one portable unit. It features a 3-axis gimbal and supports up to 10 lb. It telescopically extends out to four sections to approximately average shoulder height, and it folds to a compact 24″ in length. It can be used handheld or with an optional Steadicam Solo Arm Vest Kit. A quick release camera mounting plate and a set of counterweights are included, allowing for out-of-the-box use.

Steadycam-Merlin-Solo
Steadicam Merlin 2 and Steadicam Solo Stabilizer & Monopod

Comodo Orbit Handheld Stabilization Rig is a mechanically driven, twin grip gimbal stabilization system. The Orbit utilizes two gimbal handgrips to isolate the camera from bumps and shakes, helping the camera to seemingly float in space. With a twin grip design, the stabilizer has the unique ability to be passed from one operator to another, allowing it to travel through windows or other tight spaces. Having two handgrips also reduces operator fatigue, letting you shoot longer than with single-handed stabilizers.

Comodo-Orbit
Comodo Orbit Handheld Stabilization Rig

Camera Bags

I like to travel with my photo gear, and typically my travel involves flying. This means that all my camera equipment will be traveling in the cabin with me, not in the luggage compartment. I can’t emphasize this enough: Do not pack your camera in your checked luggage! Thousands of cameras, lenses, and accessories are lost or stolen from checked luggage every year. The best way to ensure that it doesn’t happen to you is to bring your equipment onboard and place it in the overhead storage. I like to bring my laptop as well, so I have found a couple of backpack camera storage systems that allow me to fit a camera body, several lenses, some accessories, my laptop, and even some snacks into one backpack-style bag that still fits in any overhead compartment.

One of great advantages of the Sony A7 and A7R is that you can travel with your photo gear without it weighing you down. So you don’t want the bag you carry it in to weigh you down either. Fortunately, there are a few great options that won’t weigh down your shoulder—or your wallet.

My favorite walk-around bag is Sony’s LCS-SB1 sling bag carrying case. It’s a slim, body-hugging bag that doesn’t scream, “Steal me, I’m worth thousands!” Although it weighs virtually nothing, it holds a lot. It can fit everything I need for a day out shooting; even a 70–400mm lens with the LA-EA4 fits neatly inside.

Sony-LCS-SB1-Sling-Bag
Sony LCS-SB1 Sling Bag

If you want to pack a bit more for a trip, like maybe a tablet or laptop, you’ll want to give Lowepro’s Urban Reporter shoulder bags a look. They come in three sizes depending on your needs. The smallest, Lowepro Urban Reporter 150, will hold a couple of camera bodies and a couple of lenses plus a 10” tablet. The largest is the Lowepro Urban Reporter 350, which can hold an entire mirrorless system plus a 15” laptop. If you’re also a DSLR shooter, you’ll be able to carry two different kinds of camera systems in it as well.

Lowepro-Urban-Reporter-350
Lowepro’s Urban Reporter 350 will transport a mirrorless kit and your 15” laptop.

If prefer a backpack that you can sling over your shoulder, leaving your hands free for other luggage, Sony makes a couple of backpacks that might be perfect for your needs. Sony LCS-BP2 backpack is nicely sized for a couple of mirrorless bodies, lenses, and accessories. Or you can step up to Sony’s LCS-BP3 backpack, which holds three mirrorless bodies and four or five lenses plus a 15” laptop, making it great for most of my travel needs for the past few years. While it might be a bit large for the A7/A7R and a few lenses, I like to pack as few bags as possible when traveling, and the laptop compartment and extra space allows me to pack chargers, cords, and hard drives.

Sony-LCS-BP3-backpack
The Sony LCS-BP3 backpack easily holds three mirrorless bodies with lenses, a flash, and a 15” laptop.

If you’re looking for a really sweet leather bag, check out the ONA Brixton Camera/Laptop Messenger Bag.

Ona-Brixton
ONA Brixton Camera/Laptop Messenger Bag in Dark Truffle Leather

Camera Straps

Your camera came with a strap. It might be exactly your style, but if it’s not, you have lots of options. There’s no camera accessory we come in closer contact with than the strap. You can find virtually any strap your heart desires online, so if you’re in the mood for a hot-pink ostrich-leather camera strap, you’ll probably find it.

Black-Label-Strap
Black Label Bag Very Soft Leather Camera Strap (White Stitching)

Black-Rapid
BlackRapid Metro Sling Camera Strap

Video Accessories

Sound

If you want to eliminate the camera noise that comes with recording sound with your camera, you should consider using an external microphone. You can have much more control over the quality of the audio because you are using a device whose sole purpose is to record audio. There is a growing market of microphones for mirrorless and DSLR cameras, including mics with hot shoe adapters that allow you to mount the mic to the camera so you can record without having to worry about holding the external microphone. Sony’s ECM-XYST1M stereo microphone slips into the A7/A7R/A7S multi-interface shoe. Its features include the ability to fine-tune the angle at which sound is recorded, from a single point to a wide 120-degree spread to pick up ambient sound from an entire room.

Sony-ECM-XYST1M-mic
Sony’s ECM-XYST1M stereo microphone fits into the A7/A7R/A7S multi-interface shoe.

If you‘re looking to add XLR terminal inputs and audio level controls for a pro external audio input, Sony’s XLR-K1M adapter and microphone kit is just the thing. It gives you two XLR inputs and comes with a high-quality shotgun mic.

Sony-XLR-K1M-microphone
Sony’s XLR-K1M adapter and microphone kit

You can also do what the pros do: Record sound separately and sync it later using software. This does take a bit more time, but it also provides you the best sound. Several manufacturers sell separate audio recorders that produce high-quality sound at an affordable price, such as the Zoom H1, which retails for about $100. I prefer the H1’s bigger brother, the Zoom H4n ($270), because it includes two XLR inputs, which allow the use of a variety of specialized high-quality microphones, such as a more sensitive dynamic or condenser mic, or a shotgun mic that can reach out and grab audio from far away.

Video Monitors

Your A7/A7R offers Live View video through your EVF and LCD, but there are times when shooting video that a larger monitor comes in handy. Sony’s CLM-V55 video monitor gives you more surface area, making it easy to compose your shot.

Sony-CLM-V55-monitor
The Sony CLM-V55 offers you a bigger area to frame your masterpiece.

4K Recorders

If you wish to step up to 4K recording, you’ll need a separate 4K recorder like the Atomos Shogun 7″ 4K HDMI and 12G-SDI Monitor & Recorder (available September 2014). It combines a color-calibrated 1920 x 1200 resolution display with 4K video recording and edit-ready codecs. The Shogun utilizes 4K HDMI and 12G-SDI inputs to record clean output signals at resolutions up to UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, and 30p, as well as Full HD (1920 x 1080) video up to 120 fps when used with capable cameras.

The Shogun records 10-bit, 4:2:2 UHD 4K and HD video to Apple ProRes HQ, 422, or LT formats. It can also record HD video using Avid’s DNxHD format, and UHD 4K raw video using the uncompressed Cinema DNG Raw format. Video is recorded to single or raided 2.5″ HDD and SDDs for fast and reliable write speeds. As a monitor, the Shogun features a 7″ IPS capacitive touchscreen display with resolution of 1920 x 1200.

Atomos-Shogun
Atomos-Shogun-A7S
Atomos Shogun 7″ 4K HDMI and 12G-SDI Monitor & Recorder

Video Rigs

Video rigs and rails help you attach all the accessories you use on a video shoot. They have threaded holes that allow you to attach monitors, focus rails, batteries, and anything else you might need. The best and priciest are video rigs from Zacuto and Redrock Micro, but many budget-priced alternatives exist including Kamerar and Shape Video Rigs in case you’re self-funding your indie opus.

Kamerar-TK-3-tank-video-cage-MAX-1-matte-box
Kamerar TK-3 tank video cage and MAX-1 matte box

Reflectors and Diffusers

The easiest way to shape light is with reflectors and diffusers. Reflectors bounce light back onto your subject from a solid surface of white, silver, or gold. White is the softest, whereas silver and gold have a bit more snap and contrast. Diffusers are semitransparent material, usually white, that you place between your light source and your subject. The fabric does as the name implies: It diffuses the light, spreading it out into a soft, low-contrast light source that makes any subject look better. You could make your own or buy one of the many commercially available versions. Photoflex LiteDisc 41×74″ oval reflectors come in white/silver, white/soft gold, high-contrast silver/gold, and diffusion. Or you can combine them all in a single kit with the Fotodiox 48×72″ 5-in-1 Collapsible Reflector Disc or Westcott’s 6-in-1 reflector kit which includes two diffusion panels of varying transparencies, and it also has a reversible reflective cover that slips over either of the diffusion panels so that you can bounce some fill light into your scene. Best of all, the entire system is collapsible, so it fits into a small package for traveling.

Fotodiox-5-in-1-Reflector
Fotodiox 48×72″ 5-in-1 Collapsible Reflector Disc folds down to a third of its open size for travel.

The Small Stuff

There are a few small items I always pack in my camera bag when I travel.

Filters

There are several kinds of filters you’ll probably want to keep in your camera bag. In the film days, I used to carry a whole set of pale orange “warming” and pale blue “cooling” filters to adjust the color temperature of the scene. But now I simply adjust the color temperature in-camera or in post. Here are a few filters you’ll want to consider.

UV Filters

I’ve seen far too many examples of the image quality of great lenses ruined when someone put a cheap piece of glass in front of them, so just make certain it’s the highest-quality UV filter you can find and not a $10 add-on you got hooked into buying when you ordered your camera.

Polarizing Filters

This one ranks right up there at the top of the list of must-own photography accessories. You won’t find many landscape photographers who don’t have at least one polarizer in their camera bag. Sony circular polarizing filters are a great choice because it’s made with the same glass and coatings used in your Zeiss lenses.

Light travels in straight lines, but the problem is that all those lines are moving in different directions. When they enter the camera lens, they are scattering about, creating color casts and other effects. The polarizer controls how light waves are allowed to enter the camera, letting only certain ones pass through. So what does that mean for you? With a polarizing filter, blue skies will appear darker, vegetation color will be more accurate, colors will look more saturated, haze will be reduced, and images can look sharper.

Most polarizers are circular and allow you to rotate the polarizing element to control the amount of polarization that you want. As the filter is rotated, different light waves will be allowed to pass through, such as those from a reflection on a lake. Turn the filter a little and the light waves from the reflection are blocked, making the reflection disappear. Another benefit of the filter is that it is fairly dark, so when used in bright lighting conditions, it can act as a neutral density filter, allowing you to use larger apertures or slower shutter speeds. The average polarizing filter requires an increase in exposure of about one and a half stops. This won’t be an issue for you since you will be using the camera meter, which is already looking through the filter to calculate exposure settings. You should consider it, though, if your intention is to shoot with a fast shutter speed or use a small aperture for increased depth of field.

Polarizing-filter
Sony circular polarizing filters are made with the same Zeiss glass and coatings as your Zeiss lenses.

Neutral Density (ND) Filters

Sometimes there is just too much light falling on your scene to use the camera settings that you want. Most often this is the case when you want to use a slow shutter speed but your lens is already stopped down to its smallest aperture, leaving you with a shutter speed that’s faster than you want. Maybe you want to make moving water look “smooth” in bright sunlight, or you want shallow depth of field when shooting video and there’s simply too much light, even for ISO 100.

The way around this problem is to use a neutral density (ND) filter to make the outside world appear to be a little darker. Think of it as sunglasses for your camera. ND filters come in different strengths (Figure 13.4), labeled as .3, .6, .9, and so on. They represent a one-stop difference in exposure for each .3 increment. (Some ND filters can be labeled 2, 4, and 8 for the same exposure increments.) If you need to turn daylight into dark, the Tiffen 3.0 Neutral Density Filter lowers exposure a whopping 10 stops.

I advise using the best-quality ND filter you can find, because once again, a cheap filter can ruin the quality of a great lens. As their name implies, good neutral density filters should truly be “neutral” in color. Avoid ones that have a color cast.

A great filter for this is Tiffen’s variable neutral density filter, which lets you vary the amount of density from two to eight stops. Since variable ND filters aren’t cheap, I’d advise buying one in the largest filter size you need and using inexpensive step-up adapter rings on your smaller lenses. Using a step-up ring to an oversized filter also helps prevent vignetting when shooting with extremely wide-angle lenses.

ND-FiltersND filters come in varying densities, or darkness values, so you can select how much light gets through for the the effect you desire.

Microfiber Lens Cloth

A good microfiber lens-cleaning cloth comes in handy for getting rid of those little smudges and dust bunnies that seem to gravitate toward the front of my lens. I keep a few of these in my camera bag; they can even double as lens wraps in a pinch.
Microfiber-cleaning-cloth
Microfiber cleaning cloth

External Hard Drives

Hard drives are really, really cheap. Memories are priceless. Get a pair of external hard drives for redundant storage. Use the second as a backup for the first. When you fill them up, buy two more. One day you’ll thank me.

Seagate-External-HD
Seagate USB 3.0 external hard drive

Sensor Cleaning Tools

Air Blowers

Never, ever, ever use canned, compressed air to blow dust off your sensor. The cans will release fluid when they are tilted, and that’s the last thing you want to get on your sensor. For this reason, I always use my Giotto’s Rocket Blaster. This funny-looking device is great for getting rid of dust on your sensor. It uses a clean air path so that the dust that you are blowing away doesn’t get sucked back into the ball and re-deposited on your equipment the next time you use it. Always point your camera down when blowing off the sensor. That way, any dust you dislodge falls out of the camera.

Giotto-Rocket-Blaster
Giotto’s Rocket Blaster dust-removal tool

Sensor Brush

If the Rocket Blower can’t dislodge the dust, I move on to a VisibleDust SL-788 Arctic Butterfly sensor brush. This negatively charged brush helps pull dust particles off the sensor instead of just moving them around. This version includes an LED light so you can see what you’re doing.

VisibleDust-SL-788-Arctic-Butterfly
VisibleDust SL-788 Arctic Butterfly with LED light

Those two sensor cleaners will do the trick 99% of the time. But for really persistent sensor gunk I can’t get off any other way Photographic Solutions Sensor Swabs (Type 3 for fullframe sensors) slightly moistened with the Eclipse sensor-cleaning solution will do the trick. These swabs are clean room manufactured and sealed for the ultimate in purity.

Sensor-Swabs-Eclipse
Photographic Solutions Sensor Swabs and Eclipse sensor-cleaning solution

Sony A7/A7R: From Snapshots to Great ShotsFor more tips and tricks about getting the most out of your Sony A7/A7R or A7S, check out my book ‘Sony A7/A7R: From Snapshots to Great Shots‘ from Peachpit Press. These ground-breaking compact full-frame cameras which combine the features and image quality of a top-end DSLR in a smaller camera at half the weight, quickly racked up an impressive list of accolades including Photo District News and Popular Photography’s ‘Camera of the Year’.

This book is your guide to getting the most out of Sony’s A7 and A7R cameras. While the camera manual explains what the camera can do, it doesn’t show how to use the camera to create great images!

That’s where ‘Sony A7/A7R: From Snapshots to Great Shots‘ comes in. Starting with the top ten things users need to know about the camera, it carefully guides you through the operating features and how to use them with practical advice on which settings to use when, great shooting tips, and assignments at the end of chapter.

Read more Guide to Sony A7/A7R/A7S Lens Mount Adapters
Read more Field Test: Sony A7R
Read more Field Test: Sony A7S

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Trade-up Savings on Sony A7, A7R & A7S Cameras! http://briansmith.com/trade-up-savings-sony-a7-a7r-a7s/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=trade-up-savings-sony-a7-a7r-a7s http://briansmith.com/trade-up-savings-sony-a7-a7r-a7s/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 15:55:57 +0000 http://briansmith.com/?p=17859 Take advantage of an incredible Sony A7 Trade-Up Deal this month at B&H Photo! Save at least 15% on Sony A7/A7R/A7S cameras and lenses with the trade-in of any working DSLR or mirrorless camera. Add up the Items you want – the more you bundle – the more you save. You can get an additional […]

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B-H-Sony-A7-Trade-Up-1
Take advantage of an incredible Sony A7 Trade-Up Deal this month at B&H Photo! Save at least 15% on Sony A7/A7R/A7S cameras and lenses with the trade-in of any working DSLR or mirrorless camera.

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B-H-Sony-A7-Trade-Up-3Add up the Items you want – the more you bundle – the more you save. You can get an additional $200 off select Sony FE lenses – even the vertical grip qualifies for $200 bundle savings and drops in price to $98 when bundled with any Sony A7-series body.

Once you’ve selected the items you want, you’ll be asked what you want to trade-in. You’ll get at least 15% off with the trade of any working DSLR or mirrorless camera – but your trade-in may qualify for more. If your trade-in qualifies for additional savings over 15% – you’ll receive a quote for that by email.

Check out the Sony A7 Trade-Up Deals Here!

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Philip Bloom Shoots in the Dark with Sony A7S http://briansmith.com/philip-bloom-shoots-in-the-dark-with-sony-a7s/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=philip-bloom-shoots-in-the-dark-with-sony-a7s http://briansmith.com/philip-bloom-shoots-in-the-dark-with-sony-a7s/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 15:55:31 +0000 http://briansmith.com/?p=17763 Read why filmmaker Philip Bloom calls Sony A7S “a low light monster of a camera”. Bloom takes on the night heading to Brighton Beach with DP James Miller, armed with a pair matching A7S cameras to see what they could capture using different camera profiles. Philip mainly shot various Cine gamma modes. James shot mostly […]

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Philip-Bloom-Now-I-See

Read why filmmaker Philip Bloom calls Sony A7S “a low light monster of a camera”. Bloom takes on the night heading to Brighton Beach with DP James Miller, armed with a pair matching A7S cameras to see what they could capture using different camera profiles. Philip mainly shot various Cine gamma modes. James shot mostly S-Log.

Watch all the way to the end to see the amazing level of detail visible captured with these modes shooting in near darkness on Brighton Beach.

Read Phillip Bloom’s Night Test of Sony A7S
Read Phillip Bloom’s Review of the Sony A7S
Read Field Test: Sony A7S for Still Photographers

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Masters of Photography: Matthew Jordan Smith http://briansmith.com/photography-masters-matthew-jordan-smith/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=photography-masters-matthew-jordan-smith http://briansmith.com/photography-masters-matthew-jordan-smith/#comments Fri, 04 Jul 2014 12:00:14 +0000 http://briansmith.com/?p=17359 It’s my great honor and pleasure to showcase the work of my exceptionally talented Sony Artisan brother Matthew Jordan Smith as the first in a series of profiles showcasing exceptional photography projects and featuring the Masters of Photography. Matthew is one of the most highly sought after beauty and fashion photographers in the world. He’s […]

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Matthew Jordan Smith

It’s my great honor and pleasure to showcase the work of my exceptionally talented Sony Artisan brother Matthew Jordan Smith as the first in a series of profiles showcasing exceptional photography projects and featuring the Masters of Photography.

Matthew is one of the most highly sought after beauty and fashion photographers in the world. He’s worked with some of the top names in entertainment today including Halle Berry, Jennifer Connelly, Jamie Foxx, Mandy Moore, and Oprah Winfrey.

His book ‘Sepia Dreams: A Celebration of Black Achievement Through Words and Images’ features a collection of his portraits and interviews with fifty African-American celebrities speaking candidly about the motivations and qualities that enabled them to find and embrace their dreams

Today, as America celebrates Independence Day, seems the perfect time to showcase Matthew’s latest project: Future American President: 50 States, 100 Families, Infinite Dreams.

Future American President Cover

Q: How did you come up with the idea for ‘Future American President’?

The initial idea came to me in 2007 as I was worked on another project. That project had a small section, (only four children) highlighting children as future presidents. I met my wife in 2008 and she had a son who was four years at the time. I wanted to do something that would have a positive impact on his life and included him as one of the four children. That project died when the recession hit but it was always special to me. In 2012 and wanted to base the show around things that were taking place during an election year. As I started thinking about ideas, my wife said, “your special section was very powerful and its should be its own project. The next thing I knew I was writing down my ideas and formulating a plan for what is now Future American President.

Future American President

Q: You’ve shot hundreds of famous faces including Tyra Banks, Aretha Franklin, Vanessa Williams and Oprah, what’s different about photographing the children for this book?

With famous people who are used to being in front of the camera there is a certain confidence, and that confidence is beautiful. With children is a very natural and unrehearsed energy. It can be innocent, funny or at times, even bold and confident. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to work with so many children around the country.

Q: What did you do to make the children you photographed feel Presidential?

From the moment I met each child, I’d let them know I believed they had the potential to do anything in their lives, even become a future American President, so during the entire photo shoot, I’d call them Madame President, or Mr. President, which always made the parents smile or laugh. When the kids saw there parents smiling, they eat it up. Even when the photo shoot was complete, I’d say goodbye Madame President, I hope to see you at the White House one day.

Zendaya

Q: What is the most surprising thing you experienced in the process of traveling to all 50 States?

For this project, I didn’t have families set up before hand. My idea was to approach strangers with my idea and see if they would let me photograph their child. This sounds crazy in many ways, but that’s what I did. What surprised me the most as we went from state to state was that only a handful of people across the country said no. Instead after I finished a shoot, many parents wanted to refer a friend. We even had families who offered their homes for us to stay in. These were strangers but they loved the project so much that they opened their doors and welcomed us into their lives. It was an amazing experience.

Q: While working on the project with your wife Nozomi, what was the the most unexpected thing she discovered about America?

My wife is Japanese and grew up in Northern Japan were there is very little diversity. A lot of her ideas of America are based off of movies. She now has a real appreciation for the beauty of America and the diversity of its people.

Kingston New Mexico portrait photography

Q: ‘Future American President’ is your third book, how has the publishing industry changed since you did ‘Sepia Dreams’?

Since my first book, which came out the month after 9/11 in 2001, everything has changed drastically, but I believe there are more opportunities for authors now than every before. That doesn’t mean it is easier, but where there is opportunity, there is a stronger change for success. With ‘Sepia Dreams’ I only had to produce the work, and my publisher did a lot of the heavy lifting. Now more of the weight is on me this time around, but I believe because of that I can do things a traditional publisher would dream of doing, like offer every parent in America the opportunity to put their child on the cover of Future American President.

portrait photography Michigan

Q: How has crowd-funding made this project possible?

When I first started ‘Future American President’ in the spring of 2012, I had no idea about crowd-funding. While shooting in Wyoming, the father of the child asked me who was funding the project. At that time it was all out of my pocket, so it was difficult in many ways. He told me about Kickstarter and Indiegogo and we went back home and started doing research. Crowd-funding has changed the landscape of funding all together and this project would not have been possible without it.

Q: Looks like you’ve come up with something special for parents who want to personalize a book for their child, tell us about it?

As we traveled from state to state asking parents if we could photograph their children, many parents wanted to refer friends, co-workers, or other family members, but we just didn’t have the space in the book, and had to turn their offers down. Every time we did I felt empty and wished I could include the other children. Then early one morning, (around 4:00am) an idea came to me and I shared it with my wife once she was up. She loved the idea! Initially the goal was to photograph children from 100 families for the book, but I decided to only photograph children from 99 families, leaving the last space open for any parent in America. Actually, the final space is not just in the book but on the cover of the book. Parents can take a picture of their child wearing a white top, purchase a special edition copy, and upload their picture to us. From there we can the image and turn it into a cover. For photographers around the country, it could be an excellent opportunity to do something great for their clients. Photographers can tell their existing clients about the offer and have parents hire them to create their child’s portrait to send it.

Claire_District-of-Columbia_DSC1236

Q: Let’s talk gear, what did you use for this project?

Gear wise I used three different Sony camera’s. The first year, 2012, I shot everything with the Sony a900. The second year, everything was shot with the Sony a99. I fell in love with using this camera on location. It was my first experience using the electronic view finder, and being able to see images on location in bright sunlight is the most incredible thing a location photographer can ask for. When you shooting in every state in America, you don’t have time for mistakes or second chances. The Sony a99, helped me create incredible images in very hard working environments. When you’re under pressure you want a camera to work with you, not against you. I discovered there was a major advantage to being able to see the image right away in the viewfinder. All the images are shot outside on location except for two. which were shot at night or in an indoor location. This year, I’ve used the A7R and A7 to capture all the latest images. As a matter of fact I just returned from photographing Angela Bassett’s twins for individual covers and used the A7R for the images and the A7 to shoot being the scenes video.

Mississippi-Kennedy_3456-2

Q: Did using the same lighting throughout the project help give the project a cohesive look?

From the very beginning of this project as I mapped it all out, I knew it would be important for all the work to have the same feel. I knew it would be impossible to have the exact weather in every state, and I wanted all the images to have a consistent look no matter what the weather, or background was. I decided to take my Profoto 7B strobes with me the first year. The second year, Profoto USA was gracious enough to loan me the newest Profoto location gear to complete the project. I am very grateful to Sony and Profoto for helping make this project come to life. I carried all my hear in LowePro camera bags and they stood the test of time.

california portrait photography

Q: If one of the children you photographed becomes President, can you get your brother invited to The White House for dinner?

LOL! Absolutely! The beautiful thing about this project is that it has already inspired children not only in America but all over the world. I had a group in Geneva, Switzerland, Kids with a Cause Europe, contact me after seeing my posting on Facebook. They were so moved by the project they had 100 kids make signs in the style of the Future American President project and take a photograph together. Each child wrote in French what they would do as the president of their country.

It’s important to plant the seed of possibility in our youth and this projects aim is to empower children to DREAM BIG!

portrait photography Washington

Please help support this wonderfully inspirational project! Pre-order your copy of ‘Future American President: 50 States, 100 Families, Infinite Dreams’. To learn how you can help fund this project or how to order a special edition book with your own child’s portrait on the cover, check out Matthew Jordan Smith’s Future American President Indiegogo campaign:

Matthew’s Equipment List for Future American President:

Sony A99
Sony CZ 24-70mm F2.8
Sony 100mm f/2.8 AF Macro
Sony A7R
Sony FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS
Sony FE 35mm F2.8 ZA
Profoto 7B Strobe Pack
Profoto ProHead Flash Head
Profoto Magnum Reflector
Profoto Beauty Dish White
Mini C-stand with arm
Super Clamp + U hook

Books by Matthew Jordan Smith

Future American President: 50 States, 100 Families, Infinite Dreams (coming December 2014)
Sepia Dreams: A Celebration of Black Achievement Through Words and Images

Matthew Jordan Smith WPPI Vision Award
Matthew Jordan Smith wins the 2014 WPPI Vision Award for Future American President

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Team USA photographed with Sony A77II http://briansmith.com/team-usa-photographed-with-sony-a77ii/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=team-usa-photographed-with-sony-a77ii http://briansmith.com/team-usa-photographed-with-sony-a77ii/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 18:26:42 +0000 http://briansmith.com/?p=17351 While testing the new Sony A7S fullframe mirrorless camera, I also had a chance to try out the Sony A77II with the Sony SAL 70-400mm F4-5.6 G II Lens using the camera’s Lock-on Expanded Flexible Spot Auto Focus at the USA-vs-Ghana World Cup match in Natal, Brazil. I shot this photo the moment when USA […]

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While testing the new Sony A7S fullframe mirrorless camera, I also had a chance to try out the Sony A77II with the Sony SAL 70-400mm F4-5.6 G II Lens using the camera’s Lock-on Expanded Flexible Spot Auto Focus at the USA-vs-Ghana World Cup match in Natal, Brazil.

I shot this photo the moment when USA Forward Jozy Altidore pulled his hamstring – and Team USA lost their main offensive weapon.

Sony A77II Jozy Altidore pulls a hamstring in USA Ghana Match
Jozy Altidore pulls a hamstring in USA-vs-Ghana World Cup Match in Natal, Brazil.
Sony A77II | SAL 70-400mm F4-5.6 G II | 1/640 | F/5.6 | ISO 3200

Camera: Sony A77II
Lens: Sony SAL 70-400mm F4-5.6 G II
Cards: Sony 32GB SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 Memory Cards
Software: Adobe Lightroom 5.5

Even though I was shooting RAW, the Sony A77II never hit the buffer or slowed down as I captured this sequence showing Jozy Altidore grabbing his hamstring and falling to the field in pain after tearing his hamstring in Team USA’s opening round World Cup match against Ghana.

USA-Ghana Match in Natal, Brazil
USA-Ghana Match in Natal, Brazil
USA-Ghana Match in Natal, Brazil
USA-Ghana Match in Natal, Brazil
USA-Ghana Match in Natal, Brazil
USA-Ghana Match in Natal, Brazil
USA-Ghana Match in Natal, Brazil
USA-Ghana Match in Natal, Brazil
USA-Ghana Match in Natal, Brazil
USA-Ghana Match in Natal, Brazil
USA-Ghana Match in Natal, Brazil
USA-Ghana Match in Natal, Brazil
USA-Ghana Match in Natal, Brazil
Sony A77II Jozy Altidore pulls a hamstring in USA Ghana Match
Jozy Altidore pulls a hamstring in USA-vs-Ghana World Cup Match in Natal, Brazil.
Sony A77II | SAL 70-400mm F4-5.6 G II | 1/640 | F/5.6 | ISO 3200

Read: Sports Photography: My Favorite Olympic Moments
Read: Field Test: Sony A7S for Still Photographers
Read: Portraits of Athletes | Brian Smith Pictures

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Field Test: Sony A7S for Still Photographers – Part 1 http://briansmith.com/sony-a7s-field-test/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sony-a7s-field-test http://briansmith.com/sony-a7s-field-test/#comments Sat, 28 Jun 2014 16:00:34 +0000 http://briansmith.com/?p=17037 As World Cup Fever sweeps across the soccer world, I jumped at the chance to head down to Brazil, to put the new Sony A7S (In Stock & Shipping from B&H Photo) through the paces for a week. Sony wisely positioned the 12.2mp Sony A7S to meet the demands of photographers who want low noise […]

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Sony A7S on Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

As World Cup Fever sweeps across the soccer world, I jumped at the chance to head down to Brazil, to put the new Sony A7S (In Stock & Shipping from B&H Photo) through the paces for a week. Sony wisely positioned the 12.2mp Sony A7S to meet the demands of photographers who want low noise at extremely high ISOs joining the 24.3mp Sony A7 and 36.4mp Sony A7R in Sony’s line-up of fullframe mirrorless cameras.

This seems like a great strategy – just like offering different films for different lighting.

In theory, the A7S would appear to be the perfect choice when shooting in low light, while the A7R would be the perfect choice for maximum detail and resolution (See A7R Field Test).

Would they play together like a great team, each complimenting the others’ strengths? I packed up the A7S along with my A7R and headed to Brazil to find out.

Game On

Natal, Brazil
Cornell Grads hit the beach in Natal, Brazil before the match against Ghana
Sony A7S | FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS at 24mm | 1/500 | F/5 | ISO 200

World Cup Ghana fan in Brazil
Turns out that Ghana Fans L-O-V-E Bruce Willis Movies. Who knew?
Sony A7S | SAL 70-400mm F4-5.6 G II at 90mm with LA-EA4 adapter | 1/200 | F/5 | ISO 6400
(CLICK TO SEE 100% CROP)

Natal, Brazil
Sony A7S | SAL 70-400mm F4-5.6 G II at 110mm using LA-EA4 adapter | 1/125 | F/5 | ISO 2500

USA World Cup Brazil
Team USA celebrates Clint Dempsey’s World Cup goal against Ghana.
Sony A7S | SAL 70-400mm F4-5.6 G II at 210mm using LA-EA4 adapter | 1/320 | F/5 | ISO 3200

Futbol Fever

Soccer in Natal, Brazil
Kickin’ it in the favela in Natal, Brazil
Sony A7S | FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS at 55mm | 1/640 | F/8 | ISO 800

Soccer on Natal Beach
Futbol on the beach in Natal, Brazil
Sony A7S | FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS at 200mm | 1/1000 | F/5 | ISO 200

Soccer mural in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Futbol Mural in Rio de Janeiro’s Horto neighborhood
Sony A7S | FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS at 55mm | 1/200 | F/5 | ISO 200

Futbol
King of Pop and Futbol collide in Favela Santa Marta, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | 1/250 | F/4 | ISO 800

Soccer on Ipanema Beach Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | 1/800 | F/8 | ISO 400

A7S and A7R Play Well Together

Just as I had hoped, having both the A7S and A7R in my bag proved to be the perfect combination of speed and resolution. The A7S, like the A7, has electronic front curtain shutter so the response time is a beat faster than A7R which is a plus for shooting action. For portraits I love the A7R, so shortly after shooting football on Ipanema Beach with the A7S, I pulled one of the players aside for a quick portrait with with the A7R.

Soccer player on Ipanema Beach
Sony A7R | FE 55mm F1.8 ZA | 1/100 | F/11 | ISO 200

On a rainy morning, I headed out to shoot action of surfers using the Sony A7S and FE 70-400mm F4-5.6
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sony A7S | SAL 70-400mm F4-5.6 G II at 400mm using LA-EA4 adapter | 1/500 | F/6.3 | ISO 800

…and grabbed this shot surfers with the A7R and 35mm hanging around my neck.
Brazil_A7R_0955
Sony A7R | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | 1/100 | F/9 | ISO 200

When Resolution Counts

It’s fairly likely that 90 percent of the time you’ll be just fine with the resolution of a 12.2mp camera – but for those times you need more detail – no 35mm digital camera beats the resolution of the Sony A7R. This makes it the perfect camera to pair with the A7S when you want more detail in massive 4×6 foot prints

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sony A7R | FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS at 24mm | 1/30 | F/4 | ISO 200

Sugarloaf Mountain Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sony A7R | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | 1/125 | F/8 | ISO 100

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sony A7R | FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS at 200mm | 1/800 | F/7.1 | ISO 100

SONY A7S FIELD TEST: PART 1 – WORLD CUP FUTBOL FEVER
SONY A7S FIELD TEST: PART 2 – HIGH ISO. LOW NOISE.
SONY A7S FIELD TEST: PART 3 – HIGH STOP DYNAMIC RANGE
SONY A7S FIELD TEST: PART 4 – FAST FOCUS IN LOW LIGHT / SILENT MODE

CONTINUE TO PART 2 – HIGH ISO. LOW NOISE.

Sony A7/A7R: From Snapshots to Great ShotsFor more tips and tricks about getting the most out of your Sony A7/A7R or A7S, check out my book ‘Sony A7/A7R: From Snapshots to Great Shots‘ from Peachpit Press. These ground-breaking compact full-frame cameras which combine the features and image quality of a top-end DSLR in a smaller camera at half the weight, quickly racked up an impressive list of accolades including Photo District News and Popular Photography’s ‘Camera of the Year’.

This book is your guide to getting the most out of Sony’s A7 and A7R cameras. While the camera manual explains what the camera can do, it doesn’t show how to use the camera to create great images!

That’s where ‘Sony A7/A7R: From Snapshots to Great Shots‘ comes in. Starting with the top ten things users need to know about the camera, it carefully guides you through the operating features and how to use them with practical advice on which settings to use when, great shooting tips, and assignments at the end of chapter.

The post Field Test: Sony A7S for Still Photographers – Part 1 appeared first on Portrait Photographers Miami l Celebrity Portrait Photography Florida.

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Field Test: Sony A7S for Still Photographers – Part 2 http://briansmith.com/sony-a7s-field-test-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sony-a7s-field-test-2 http://briansmith.com/sony-a7s-field-test-2/#comments Sat, 28 Jun 2014 15:59:40 +0000 http://briansmith.com/?p=17114 When the Sony A7S was announced at NAB, it garnered lots of attention because it’s ability to shoot native 4K video without line-skipping, pixel binning or interpolation. But it was the A7S’s ability to shoot up to ISO 409,600 that had many still photographers wondering if the A7S might just be the perfect low-light still […]

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When the Sony A7S was announced at NAB, it garnered lots of attention because it’s ability to shoot native 4K video without line-skipping, pixel binning or interpolation. But it was the A7S’s ability to shoot up to ISO 409,600 that had many still photographers wondering if the A7S might just be the perfect low-light still camera.

That’s exactly what Sony engineers had in mind. The “S” stands for “sensitivity”. The 12.2mp Sony A7S is wisely positioned to meet the demands of photographers who want low noise at extremely high ISOs joining the 24.3mp Sony A7 and 36.4mp Sony A7R in Sony’s line-up of fullframe mirrorless cameras.

High Sensitivity. Low Noise.

The A7S ISO tops out at just over a whopping FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND. That’s right ISO 400K. I’m always a skeptical when comes to top ISO ratings, rarely venturing to the top levels. So I immediately took the cameras out for a test and was amazed at that ISO 102,400 looks extremely clean. This will be a huge bonus for photojournalists, documentary and sports photographers and anyone else who shoot in low light. And paparazzi along with private eyes, spies and the guys from CSI are gonna LOVE ISO 409,600!

Here are a few shots processed in Lightroom, my post-processing software of the choice. Sony A7S RAW files are supported with the latest Lightroom 5.5 and Adobe Camera Raw 8.5 updates for Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CC. (update links here)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Aussie Futbol Fans toast their team in Rio de Janeiro’s Lapa neighborhood
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | 1/30 sec | F2.8 | ISO 6400 | CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Our lovely girl from Ipanema, Ana Carolina Kruschewsky at Sacrilegio
Sony A7S | FE 55mm F1.8 ZA | 1/50 sec | F4 | ISO 25,600 | CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

Natal, Brazil
Natal, Brazil
Elvis gotta love when USA Futbol wins Thankyouverymuch!
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | 1/320 sec | F5.0 | ISO 51,200 | CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

ISO TESTS: ISO 100-409,600

These tests shot were RAW and processed in Sony Image Data Converter 4.2.03 using the default settings to give you a baseline standard. But it’s extremely easy to fine-tune noise reduction to your taste for any given ISO. All tests were shot with both High ISO Noise Reduction and Long Exposure NR turned off in-camera. I ALWAYS suggest you TURN OFF one-size-fits-all in-camera noise reduction and instead adjust noise reduction in-post to your taste.

A7S_ISO_100
Sony A7S ISO Tests 100% Crop
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | F13 | 1/2 sec | ISO 100 | CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

A7S_ISO_200
Sony A7S ISO Tests 100% Crop
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | F13 | 1/4 sec | ISO 200 | CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

A7S_ISO_400
Sony A7S ISO Tests 100% Crop
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | F13 | 1/8 sec | ISO 400 | CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

A7S_ISO_800
Sony A7S ISO Tests 100% Crop
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | F13 | 1/15 sec | ISO 800 | CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

A7S_ISO_1600
Sony A7S ISO Tests 100% Crop
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | F13 | 1/30 sec | ISO 1600 | CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

A7S_ISO_3200
Sony A7S ISO Tests 100% Crop
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | F13 | 1/60 sec | ISO 3200 | CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

A7S_ISO_6400
Sony A7S ISO Tests 100% Crop
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | F13 | 1/125 sec | ISO 6400 | CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

A7S_ISO_12800
Sony A7S ISO Tests 100% Crop
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | F 13 | 1/250 sec | ISO 12,800 | CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

A7S_ISO_25600
Sony A7S ISO Tests 100% Crop
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | F 13 | 1/500 sec | ISO 25,600 | CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

A7S_ISO_51200
Sony A7S ISO Tests 100% Crop
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | F 13 | 1/1000 sec | ISO 51,200 | CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

A7S_ISO_102400
A7S_ISO_102400_crop
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | F 13 | 1/2000 sec | ISO 102,400 | CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

A7S_ISO_204800
A7S_ISO_204800_crop
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | F 13 | 1/4000 sec | ISO 204,800 | CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

A7S_ISO_409600
A7S_ISO_409600_crop
Sony A7S | FE 35mm F2.8 ZA | F 13 | 1/4000 sec | ISO 409,600 | CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

RAW -vs- JPEG Comparison

Despite my preference for shooting RAW, I ran a comparison between in-camera jpeg and RAW processed in Sony Image Data Converter 4.2.03 using the default settings and to my eyes they’re virtually identical. Once again, the key to good in-camera jpegs is to TURN OFF HIGH ISO NOISE REDUCTION.

Sony A7S ISO Tests 100% Crop
CLICK TO ENLARGE 100% CROP

SONY A7S FIELD TEST: PART 1 – WORLD CUP FUTBOL FEVER
SONY A7S FIELD TEST: PART 2 – HIGH ISO. LOW NOISE.
SONY A7S FIELD TEST: PART 3 – HIGH STOP DYNAMIC RANGE
SONY A7S FIELD TEST: PART 4 – FAST FOCUS IN LOW LIGHT / SILENT MODE

CONTINUE TO PART 3 – HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE

Sony A7/A7R: From Snapshots to Great ShotsFor more tips and tricks about getting the most out of your Sony A7/A7R or A7S, check out my book ‘Sony A7/A7R: From Snapshots to Great Shots‘ from Peachpit Press. These ground-breaking compact full-frame cameras which combine the features and image quality of a top-end DSLR in a smaller camera at half the weight, quickly racked up an impressive list of accolades including Photo District News and Popular Photography’s ‘Camera of the Year’.

This book is your guide to getting the most out of Sony’s A7 and A7R cameras. While the camera manual explains what the camera can do, it doesn’t show how to use the camera to create great images!

That’s where ‘Sony A7/A7R: From Snapshots to Great Shots‘ comes in. Starting with the top ten things users need to know about the camera, it carefully guides you through the operating features and how to use them with practical advice on which settings to use when, great shooting tips, and assignments at the end of chapter.

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