12.08.2015

Have you ever been sitting in a meeting and realized that the light just then was beautiful?


I was at a meeting today photographing. I looked around the room and the light coming through the floor to ceiling windows painted the faces of the people across the table from me in the most beautiful way. I had to take a photograph to capture it. Just the turn of the woman's head in the middle of the frame made it all perfect. I have no idea how the meeting turned out, I was too busy watching life being painted right in front of me.

At what point do the camera and lens disappear and let the image just soak through? Oh. I know. When you learn to ignore the camera even when you have it right in front of your face.


Muscle memory. Reaction. Looking for images not targets. You know the camera is in the way when you have to stop and think about how to set it. You know the camera has become invisible when you can just respond to the scene in front of your face.

All bets are off when you see the Jetson's building....

A late afternoon bicycle ride up Lamar Blvd. in Austin, Texas


I can't remember what camera or lens I used but I sure like the position of the shadows and the intersecting lines on the wall and sidewalk.

When I finish up my jobs, back up my files and send out the bills I like to chill out and relax a bit by taking a camera and lens out into the world and practicing my craft. I can't imagine a day without a camera in my hands. I think the way to see photographically is, in a sense, to live immersed in photography.

#addictedtophotographs

I'm a little confused. Some reviewers say that the longest end of the Panasonic fz 1000 zoom lens is not as sharp as the rest of the focal range. I guess they need to work on their handholding skills just a bit more. Or use a tripod...

Go long. Hand held.

The average camera reviewer seems to buy into the "echo chamber" system of camera evaluation. Someone on a different site writes something about the long end of a lens being soft and the writer picks it up and runs with it. Sometimes the weather is crappy and a reviewer (not the camera owner) feels the need to go out in low illumination, gray muck and make some images anyway; after all, shouldn't state of the art image stabilization allow you to hand-hold a 400mm equivalent focal length pretty steady at 1/15th of second?

I read in a couple places on the web that the Panasonic fz 1000 was a little soft at the long end and this concerned me because the long reach of the Leica designed lens was one of the reasons I bought the camera. It's also one of the features I used extensively on my recent, downtown Austin project.

But I did something a bit out of the ordinary for web camera reviewers --- I actually went outside on a nice, sunny day and shot some tests. I shot the tests with the camera locked down on a stout tripod and also handheld. Guess what? The long end of the lens is sharp. The secret is to use it intelligently.

A primer for testers: To find out just how sharp any lens can be turn off the I.S. put the camera on a tripod and use a self timer for release. Make sure you focus correctly instead of depending on some automatic focusing point selection algorithm from the camera. Maybe use that boring, old, center, single point, AF method!  Now you have an understanding of the potential of the lens and if you want to you can take it off the tripod, turn on the  I.S. and shoot tests that might show you how sharp the system can be. But please, tell your readers if you shot the 400mm sample while riding on a street car over bumpy track at twilight, holding the camera at arm's length with one hand, to view the idiot screen, on the back, while your other hand grips the safety rail of your conveyance.

But really, the point I'd like to emphasize here is how important it is for one's credibility to actual go out and do the test instead of taking one of the other web shill's word for something, and then passing on flawed information.

Wow. That sounded like a rant. Okay, well I just get tired of reading misinformed crap.

12.07.2015

The ongoing saga of this quarter's favorite VSL picture taking machine.


Click on the photos to see them larger in a separate window. 






























All images taken with the Panasonic fz 1000. 

So, I had the opportunity to get paid for one of the photographic pursuits that I do for myself; walking around downtown Austin making images of buildings and stuff. I got to do the job exactly the way I wanted to without active curation on anybody's part. I started out the project using full frame cameras and prime lenses but I quickly came to realize that a wide ranging zoom would be much more effective and efficient. I also wanted to use a camera with an EVF because I was constantly using a circular polarizing filter and wanted to have the immediate feedback one gets from the camera assembling the preview and showing it as one shoots. 

I thought at first that I'd use the Olympus cameras but frankly, I didn't have the lens range I really wanted. I ended up choosing the Panasonic fz 1000 because, in broad daylight, the camera gives up very little to the larger formats when it comes to low noise, sharpness and the general look of the files. I shot raw and did some post processing but most of the files were in an optimum exposure range and already looked pretty good. Camera Raw in Adobe apps tends to yield a pretty flat file from  Panasonic raw files and that's okay because they seem resilient at taking bit corrections and big color changes without falling apart. 

As I got used to the rhythm of the camera the battery life seemed to go on forever. At a 400 mm equivalent focal length the image stabilization (five axis) was pretty incredible.

I loved being able to set the camera to f5.6 and zoom from 25mm to 400mm without seeing any real impact on image quality. This is an amazing camera. Much more exciting to shoot than most other bridge cameras because the 1 inch sensor means I have a great chance of getting competitive files. 

I love this camera so much I bought a second one as a back up.  If you like bridge cameras you should try one. It's amazing. It's the current VSL camera of the quarter. 

Less than the price of a good lens alone....


I have heard the rumors about Nikon buying the video and sensor tech from Samsung. Let mull this over for a minute and think about the ramifications.


Here's one thing Samsung is not good at: Marketing stand alone cameras outside of South Korea. Here's one thing Samsung is very, very good at: Making state of the art processor, memory and imaging semiconductors. Always seems like a great idea to play to your strengths. 

There are two rumors floating around right now and I am inclined to believe them both. One is that Samsung is exiting the camera markets almost everywhere in the world, outside their own home market. And probably there too. The problem for Samsung was one of marketing which, by extension, effected their decision making in camera design. They consistently launched relatively expensive mirrorless cameras with no EVFs and no possibility of hooking up an aftermarket EVF finder. They consistently made cameras with good video capability at the chip level but with no microphone inputs. They misread the amount of demand for cameras with full bore Android operating systems inside. They tried to wrap a marketing campaign around #DitchtheDSLR but they never made the arguments for why one should get rid of a perfectly good camera to embrace one that was more or less unknown. One without a supporting campaign of features and benefits. They tried to paint the status quo DSLR as something bad instead of touting the things their mirrorless cameras supposedly did better. The marketplace judged the value of things included and things left off the various and then voted with their wallets. In most markets it was thumbs down. 

But the thing to remember is that the parts that were just about the technology were very, very good. And then we come to Nikon. 

The rumor is that Nikon is buying Samsung's camera tech in order to bound into the mirrorless ring with gusto and present us with a "professional" mirrorless system. I sure as hell hope there's someone smart at the controls there and that Nikon doesn't stub their toes hard trying catch up all at once. I'd rather see them take it all one step at a time. 

The no brainer is the actual sensor. The NX1 proved that Samsung could make a great APS-C sensor and they bolstered the performance of the sensor by surrounding it with fast image processing chips. Nikon needs an alternative to Sony as an imaging sensor supplier. Having a single supplier is like having one client; it's dangerous. Nikon can start by implementing the BSI sensor tech from Samsung into their APS-C cameras which will get them more resolution and more speed. And the experienced people at Nikon can get the colors right. Or at least more right than Samsung did.

The imaging sensor and the surrounding support team of micro processors and micro controllers are also part of the secret sauce for the 4K video.

If Nikon's first steps are to use the chips to speed up overall processing and also provide highly competitive video I'll be happy if they stop there to catch their breath.

The next step would be for Nikon to introduce the EVF from the NX1 into one of their APS-C bodies. They could keep the lens mount and just eliminate the mirror. That should provide backward compatibility with a rich and really good selection of current and past lenses. Once they do a good job with the video and the EVF they've pretty much entered into the realm of what I want out of a mirrorless camera. 

I hope Nikon will resist two things which, I think, would kill them in the advanced consumer and professional markets. They must avoid, at all costs, the temptation to abandon the existing lens mount and introduce a system designed around the Samsung mount. I understand the lure of not having to make the adaptations from system to system and I understand very well the value of being able to put lots of different lenses (other than Nikons) on the front of the camera, but a major selling point of Nikon for decades and generations of photographers has been the backward compatibility of the lenses. I suppose it would work to use a shorter flange distance and come out with a seamless adapter to use the lenses in question but I think they will run into the same marketing issues that have plagued Samsung and Sony, and at the same time have served Nikon and Canon so well; the idea that the camera body is an introduction into a massive inventory of existing glass that is time tested and familiar.  That Sony and Samsung haven't reached a usable stable of lenses, much less an inventory of lenses that cover everything professionals and advanced amateurs might need. But those lenses we want already exist across Nikon and Canon's lines. 

The second thing I hope Nikon resists is trying to make their new cameras too small just for the sake of marketing in the few countries in the world where people have smaller hands, smaller homes, smaller offices and smaller purses. It's my hope that, from a handling point of view, that Nikon stick to a minimum size of the APS-C line of cameras they are selling right now. While I love the Olympus EM5.2 cameras we are already under the limits of size-to-convenient use ratios and I fear more shrinkage. We need to be able to hold our cameras securely and access the buttons on the tops and back with authority. 

Nikon has a reputation to maintain and I hope they don't destroy it by going too far too fast. 

In all, this could be a good thing for Nikon and Samsung. Good for Samsung because I think the camera division was a distraction, and a field they just don't understand from a world use perspective. They simply didn't have enough time and research in the user field to understand how best to market their cameras to enthusiasts. A hash tag campaign and the besmirching of a product category isn't really marketing. At least not marketing that will build long term clientele. 

It's bound to be a good thing for Nikon because it gives them more options and more diverse product to sell. They could very well have a flagship line with full frame, highly capable traditional cameras, a second line of state of the art, mirrorless APS-C cameras and perhaps a total refresh of their purse cameras, the N1 System. They just need to resist the temptation to combine everything into some sort of Frankenstein product inventory. We've already lived through that.  

Keep the mount, leverage the sensor. 
Keep the lenses, leverage the processor speeds. 
Keep the body styles and sizes, leverage better video.  It could work. Or it could all be just rumors that will never come to fruition. We'll see. 



The proto camera.

A handful of cameras, only one of which have EVFs.

And here's where they just went totally off the rails......

Or was it here?


Hanging out at the graffiti wall thinking about cameras....

I don't need it but for many mostly irrational reasons I sure do want it.... The Sigma 24-35mm f2.0

I'll just stick this on my Amazon wish list with the 
hopes that some blog reader feels abnormally
generous during the holidays and want to send one along.
I won't be holding my breath....


What is it and why do I feel like I want one. So, apparently Sigma has decided to kick everyone else's ass in the lens making arena with their "ART" lenses. I thought it was silly until I bought the 50mm Art lens from a friend who found the lens so compelling that he bought a Nikon version and a D610 to use it with even though he primarily shoots with Leica and Canon. He just couldn't turn down a bargain. But he was not well suited to a life divided between two primary systems and an orphan system so he turned to me and let me have the lens and body very inexpensively. I didn't really needs the body and sold it a short time later but the lens wowed me and I've kept it on the front of the D810 most of the time I've owned it.

When Sigma announced the 24-35mm f2.0 Art zoom lens I was immediately interested but, as a portrait shooter mainly, I don't have a pressing need for the focal lengths that this one covers. And I've been trying to rationalize my "need" to purchase of it ever since.

I have this ongoing fantasy of being able to run the core of the business with a couple of really good cameras and just three lenses; this one to cover all my wide angle needs, the 50mm f1.4 I already have in hand and an 85mm f1.4 Art lens the minute it becomes available.

From everything I've read on review sites this lens really does deliver. While not quite as sparkling as the single focal length varieties from the same company its performance as the fastest zoom lens available for full frame cameras is at least as good as many of the prime lenses being offered by the traditional camera companies, like Nikon and Canon.

Of course, this concept of the three lens "perfect system" is kind of silly for me. As a portrait photographer I should be focusing on 50-85-105 and 135 and leave the wide stuff for the people who like it and can use it well.  But hope always springs up anew. I'm just waiting for the client who says, "We need to do some annual report work under low light with some really dramatic angles. Do you have lens that does that?"  I don't right now but as soon as the "ink" is dry on the contract I'll be heading out the door to grab one.

Unless one of my many adoring fans just happens to toss one in a Fedex box and send it in this direction....... Santa?

Counting down the days till my favorite "assistant" heads home from school. An old portrait I stumbled across this morning.


This image of Ben was taken a number of years ago. If memory serves correctly it was done with a Kodak SLR/n camera and a Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 (not that it matters) on a Saturday morning at a swim meet.  Where images of "the boy" and his mom are involved I have really followed "best practices" in terms of backing everything up in multiple places and across multiple media. These are the images I am loathe to lose.

On the other hand....

We instituted a new policy about three years ago for client work. We put the onus on them to keep their commissioned images safe, sound and at hand. If they paid for a three year license we state that we'll use the best methods at our disposal to retain the images but don't guarantee the survival of digital work past the license expiration date.

A number of years ago I started culling through the enormous, three drawer filing cabinets that fill up a wall in the studio. I started dragging out old headshot of business people from businesses that had gone belly up. I looked through lots of envelopes and carefully inspected lots of negative pages to make sure I wasn't tossing anything that I might construe as important. It seems silly to keep around a full sheet of negatives from a quick, cattle call portrait session, done at a company that, in all likelihood laid off the subject of those negatives years or decades earlier.

We have an obligation to hold onto the work during its period of contracted relevance but in the days of digital, if a client needs long term storage they are much better equipped to run an image library than I will ever be.

The newest purge is CD-roms from 1995 to 2005. Unless there is a compelling reason to keep the work (historic imagery?) I'm grinding it up and consigning it to the trash heap of history.

We have moved from "keepers of the archive" to "makers of contemporarily relevant content. In this day and age that's truly what we get paid for.

Sloughing off the day to day work of an earlier time is emotionally freeing and exciting. I feel as though I am no longer anchored to the past in quite the same way. Every time you can divest yourself of responsibility for something that doesn't pay for itself I think you win. Just a thought.


12.06.2015

Following along on my last post, here's what I've tried in the realm of upload/download sites and my experiences with them.


Like most of us my engagement with sending images to clients via the interwebs started many years ago with the attaching of small images to e-mails. Things have certainly changed. In 2012 I started using DropBox to send selections of files to clients. Using their free service I kept the file sizes well under the 2gb cap. In 2013, while testing the Samsung Galaxy NX, Samsung provided me with two years of 50gb service from DropBox. I found (and still find) the file structure and interface to be kludgy and non-intuitive but the ability to push large files, or hundreds of medium size files, to clients forced me to adapt to the inelegant interface. 

As long as I used it regularly it worked but if I took a few weeks off from using it I fell out of practice and had to re-learn how to step around the things I didn't think made rational sense to an end user. 

When someone sent me a link to WeTransfer.com I was delighted to give it a try. What a breath of fresh air after the DropBox interface. I have used the free version of WeTransfer.com extensively and was ready just recently to pop for the full $XXX per year level which would allow me to upload as much as 50 gb at a time. That's enough for just about anything I could think of. Most of our industrial video programs cap out at about 5-8 gigabytes (high res) and the only time I think I might use anything close to the per transaction cap of 50gb would be sending along Pro-Res video files. Which I've never been asked to do. 

The design of the splash page and the work page in WeTransfer is fun, usually pretty and easy to use for just about anyone. Even the stodgiest ancient art director.

So I was sitting there with my credit card out, getting ready to sign up for a year of service, when I got a nice e-mail from a vendor I've been using since 2006; Smugmug.com. They let me know that people signed up at the professional and business levels would be able to do unlimited uploads (already a feature) but would now also be able to do big downloads to our clients. I gave it a shot on several jobs and it worked great. 

I finished my post processing from the New Jersey shoot late last night (so much for Saturday evening entertainment) and uploaded two different folders to Smugmug to create two different online web galleries. One folder was all the photographic "B-roll" I'd shot. These images included glamour shots of the front of the client's headquarters, shots of chemist doing R&D, fabulous machines, strategies meetings complete with people in suits, packaging and shipping operations and more fabulous machines. The folder contain about 900 large, high resolution 20 megapixel Jpegs and was approximately 11.5 Gigabytes of information. Once download Smugmug automatically makes a gallery I can send various agency people to. If they are willing they can also share the links with their clients. Probably good for collaboration. 

Since the images were already full size, optimized and color corrected, I selected all the images in the gallery and did a "gallery download." This generates links I can send to my client. They can use the links to access the images. Smugmug creates as many folders as needed but each one is under 2 Gigabytes, which makes sense as most clients have I.T. department mandated limits.  I sent along the online gallery link and the download links in an e-mail. 

Since I'll be retouching selected portrait images I did not send along a big folder full of portrait images. I output images from Lightroom CC at 2100 pixels on the long side and made a separate portrait gallery from them. I also sent along a folder download link of the portrait files to aid the client in using them for placement.

Everything worked charmingly and, since I already have 320,000+ images in Smugmug's system and have never had a glitch with them, it all feels very comfortable. They even have real, live customer service!

The worst method I've used in terms of the way my brain is wired and the software developers who made the system have their brains wired is ------- drum roll ------ Google Drive. Hate it. If a client insist on doing a big project of which Google Drive is a major component, I am quickly going to hire a digital tech. No one should have to endure that jagged interface and file system while under time pressure or, hell, at any time. 

Close behind Google Drive for my scorn and derision is Apple's vision of Cloud storage. Yuck. And that's from a user of their machines since 1985 and a long term stockholder in their company. Their Cloud offering baffles me but I'm sure if someone explained it to me three or four times a week, until I got the hang of it, I'd finally get it. 

In 2015 all software aimed at non-technical users should be simple, bulletproof and visually elegant. There's just no excuse for crap out there. 

I'll continue to use WeTransfer.com for my day to day delivery of finished portrait files and low volume work. I'll lean on Smugmug to do the heavy lifting. Am I missing anything out there? Is there something really fantastic I just haven't heard about? Do you want to share?

P.S. Panasonic fz1000 files are much better than I could have hoped for. It's a camera that delivers imaging so far above its price point that it stuns me. I'm so glad I tossed one into the mix for this last job. So nice....

Hey, I don't have anything I want to sell you here. I hope you are enjoying the lead up to the holidays. Concentrate on the fun stuff and not the problems. I guarantee you'll have more fun. 

12.05.2015

New learning for a new era in commercial photography. Speed, efficiency and new delivery tactics surrounding the actual shoot.


I was working on a commercial shoot in New Jersey last week. We were making portraits and photographs of the working facility. In the days of film we would have taken about six days to shoot what we got done in two days, and that's without the hindrance of assistants and an entourage. I thought I was doing everything in a "state of the art" fashion but I wasn't. I haven't been.

I'm not really talking about big changes to the actual photography (although I need to modernize there too) but about the whole method of moving through space and time with greater effectiveness.

When I learned about location shooting for clients we did things with lots and lots of gear and people. On an assignment to photograph a factory and the executive leadership team in the days of film we would show up at the curbside of the airport with cases and cases of gear and enough people to shepherd the gear through the travel process all the way to the client facility. Since we were wrangling slow film we needed big lights and lots of them. We also needed big stands for the lights, lots of extension cords, big light modifiers and stout tripods. A typical "old school" medium format film shoot on location might look like this, as far as inventory goes:

Large Tenba Air Case with two Hasselblad bodies, four lenses and six film backs. It would also include several Polaroid backs for the medium format cameras.

A second, equally large Tenba Air Case with duplicates of the gear resident in case one. This was our back-up system. You know, just in case. We had cameras fail much more often in film days than in the new age of digital. Usually it was something caused by a film misload or from being too fast in cycling the camera; either of which might cause the camera to lock up. In that case you could not remove the lens until a repair tech reset the camera.

We once had two fairly new Hasselblads bite the dust on one shoot for a client called, Builder's Square, but we finished the shoot on time because ---- yes --- we had packed three bodies. And we finished up with the third body. I was getting nervous because, in that situation, we had no more back-ups and a couple hours left to shoot.

We would have three Norman 2000 strobe packs and six heavy, metal flash heads packed across three stout cases. The strobe packs along weighed in a 32 pounds apiece so once ensconced in hard cases, along with two heads per case, each Anvil case weighed in somewhere north of eighty pounds.

We had cases with light stands and cases with soft boxes and umbrellas. We had cases with diffusion frames and we had cases with make up, and, in some cases, even a Mole Richardson fog machine.

Going out of town meant rounding up your first and regular second assistants and generally one more person to round out a team. Two people unpacked and set up lights while the third managed the film and Polaroids. Marking film was essential and took both practice and concentration.

To get to the airport we generally needed a Suburban or a full sized van. We'd roll up to the curbside check in and disgorge all of our stuff. One assistant would jump in the vehicle and head out to park it while the rest of us pushed the bags to the skeptical Skycaps. If we had the full contingent of bags and cases I'd already have a couple, or three, twenty dollar bills out and showing to tip with. Extravagant tipping nearly always assured that we'd get the stuff onto our flight without paying for overages or extra bags. Sixty bucks at the curb was a preventative for getting slammed with overweight and oversized luggage fees at the inside airline counters.

Once we got the photo crew to the target city one assistant would head out to fetch yet another huge rental vehicle and we'd pull our stuff off the carousels and climb aboard. Before smart phones we would have pulled out a map of the city and figured out a route to our destination by ---- reading a map.

The rental cars were expensive but necessary as our gear would never fit in one or two cabs. Just feeding everyone three meals a day was a chore.

So, this is the way I was trained and the way we operated through most of my tenure in the "golden age" of film.

Once we got to the locations and scouted we'd set up lights to overpower the ambient light and work maybe an hour and a half, or two hours, setting up, lighting and testing each shot. We were happy if we got eight to ten locations in the same set of buildings lit and shot in a day. It took time to shoot and evaluate Polaroids and then make the changes.

Since I learned this way I have been resilient to changing my methodologies entirely. As digital cameras have gotten better and better I've pared down everything, from the size of my lights to the number of back up cameras I bring. But now making shoots more efficient takes me beyond the realm of shooting and lighting. It's every part that needs modernized. Updated. Upgraded.

I packed smart on this trip. One carry-on roller case for the cameras, lenses and small flashes; two checked bags; one for clothes, and one for light stands+tripods+umbrellas.  All the cases are wheeled and stackable and I can handle all three by myself. No more need to bribe the SkyCaps (but I still do tip $5 a bag --- habit).

On the most recent trip the advertising agency made all the travel arrangements. I met up with my agency person at the baggage area at our destination and told him I was ready to head out to get our rental car. I presumed (habit) that we'd be doing the time tested car rental for our 30 mile trek. He smiled, fussed with his phone for a couple of seconds and said, "Our Uber car should be here in two minutes and forty five seconds." It was. We loaded our bags into someone's Toyota Rav 4 and they took us straight to the hotel in a city 30 miles away.  Lesson one: Uber and Lyft are very convenient, easy to use and easy to navigate. Why spend time in a shuttle headed to some dim and time wasting rental facility on the outskirts of the airports and stand in line waiting to transact for your car rental --- and being manipulated into paying for the insurance, etc?   Forty five minutes to an hour saved right there.

Any time we wanted to go someplace; to a restaurant, the client's facility or back to the hotel we used Uber. When we needed to have something picked up and brought over to the shoot we didn't need to send anyone, the agency person could tap on his phone and get someone from Favor (an app) to pick up that prop from whatever store and deliver it over to us directly. We looked for local restaurants with an app and read the reviews on another app.

At one point during the shoot I realized that I really did want my agency client to look at test shots for each of the executives we were photographing, before and during each person's session to make sure I was on the right track. Also, a second set of eyes is great for catching errors and omissions. I would ask my agency guy to come over and look at the screen on the back of the camera. He was happy to do so but when we were flying home we were discussing the camera apps available to both control cameras and also look at images as we shoot. I won't go out on location again until after I've picked up a new iPad Air2 with a Retina screen and loaded and mastered the software needed to shoot live with Nikon, Olympus and Panasonic cameras. What could be better than having my client sitting in a comfy chair with a cup of coffee in one hand and an iPad in the other, watching my back? And making sure he's getting what he needs for his designs and templates.

I think I'd also feel better having a neutral device to proof the images for exposure as well.

When we talked about file delivery I mentioned that we had a lot of stuff to move around and I'd be able to put it all on a 32 gigabyte memory stick and drop it by when I finished with post processing. He hemmed a bit and then told me he didn't really like getting physical product anymore and wondered if I could send it via FTP. I do that a lot with smaller jobs but I thought clients would want the stuff on a stick for back up and what not. But younger art directors are used to pulling things down from the cloud whenever they want it, wherever they are. Fortunately, one of my service providers, Smugmug, recently instituted a new unlimited download service and I can load everything up there.

In the actual photographic world I think many younger clients are no longer expecting the "ultimate" file, they are expecting good, right sized files. We were looking at a few of the files I'd shot on the Panasonic fz1000 instead of the full frame Nikon. In one situations I'd shot some stuff at ISO 1600 and I was worried about the noise. My client watched me blowing stuff up to 100%, laughed, and said, "We'll never use it that big." He liked what he saw on the screen and had strong idea of exactly how he would use the work.

Our oft-repeated patterns of shooting, delivering and even managing our photographic adventures tend to get stuck at whatever time strata we felt most comfortable in. That's why so many photographers in my age cohort are always pursuing the ultimately sharp or noise free camera. But we do ourselves a disservice if we feel like we need a supersonic jetliner like the Concord for a quick commuter flight or a Nikon D810 or Sony A7R2 camera for a headshot for a website. We're making our own lives and careers harder by aiming at targets that really don't exist anymore; at the expense of new methodologies that work well for a new business paradigm.

I am often asked by older photographers why in the world I would choose to buy a bridge camera when I have a couple of full frame cameras. In their minds that ultimate file equals the badge of a real professional. But my younger clients (and almost all of them are younger than me now) never even think about the old pecking order of cameras or even if we are shooting with a traditional camera. Their concern is centered around the look and feel of the image. Is the angle right? Does it feel right? Will it work across a website splash page? Can we ramp up the saturation? Is the file malleable?

At no time did my art director bat an eye at the battery powered speed lights I was using on his project. And a few years ago I could have sworn that pros only used Profoto strobes or Elinchrom Strobes.  He was more impressed with the compactness with which we packed and the results we were getting from shot to shot. That, and how the smaller package allowed us to move much quicker and get more usable shots.

I have been a bit backward, rejecting cellphone based apps for my conventional cameras. I have hewed to parking my own car in the parking garage at he airport even though a crowdsourced cab would be much less costly and much more efficient. I've let my past way of doing things cloud my ability to embrace ways of working that would be less arduous for me and easier for my clients. And this cuts to the heart of business. While we want to be artists we must deliver what the aggregated client base wants. There are few 60 year old art directors  to cater my services to. The  demographic of the clients I've worked with this year is about 80% female and the average age is about 32 years old. They have much, much different expectations for photography at every turn than we had or have at this point in our careers.

We seem intent on creating perfection while fast sharing is more vital to them. We seem to like our lighting and focus locked down whereas they enjoy accidents, happenstance and unplanned moments. They value fast movement and portability over "shock and awe" resolution and optimal technical results. But most importantly they love the idea of collaboration instead of one person acting as the lone wolf artist.

We have a choice. We can stick in our comfortable rut and work for a tiny and ever diminishing set of clientele who share our generational proclivities or we can learn from the younger people around us and embrace the change. I guarantee you that only one course of action will give you any hope to ensure your continued embrace and enjoyment of commerce, and of getting paid.

Deliver on DVDs? Not likely. Not anymore.

If you are a working pro I would be interested in what kinds of new technologies you are bringing to your work. Please share in the comments. Thanks, Kirk