Can you look at my website and give me feedback?

Ring Weekend for the seniors at The Citadel [Nikon D3S, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/60]
It is actually quite common for me to get an email that says, “I have been working on a website. I would like your feedback.”

I go to their websites and find over and over that there is no rhyme or reason to their website. The only people who will go to your website will be those you sent a link to and those who happen to find you because of a search they did with Google.

So for example what type of search engine words would a person put into Google that might be looking for a photographer who took the first picture on this page?

The Citadel
Charleston
Ring Day
Photographer
South Carolina

You see most people will most likely not find you based on your website address. They will find you based on the search terms they put into the search window.

[Nikon D100, 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, 2X, ISO 400, ƒ/8, 1/160]
If you need a photographer to take pictures of your basketball team playing then you might use these search terms:

Sports Photographer
Atlanta
Georgia
Basketball
College Sports
Photojournalist

[Nikon Coolpix P7000, ISO 100, ƒ/7.1, 1/1000]
If you were looking for a photographer to make this photo of the car then you might use these search terms:

Automobile
Car
Photographer
Still Life
Advertising
Corporate
Studio
Racecar
Atlanta
Georgia

The point I think you are seeing is that you are creating a website that each photo has some words that are embedded into the photo that the search engines can see and will take people to your photo. It is a little more complex that what I am saying here, but you must have these elements or they cannot find you.

Kalyn Wood [Nikon D4, 85mm ƒ/1.4, ISO 800, ƒ/1.4, 1/160]
For this photo you may have the person’s name in the caption information but then have in the keywords: Portrait, Headshot, Fashion, Model, Actress.

In PhotoShop you can go to the FileInfo and fill in these fields and that will be embedded within the photo on your website.

You should also use these keywords also on the webpage in the metadata there for the page. So it you do headshots then in the keywords on the page showing all your headshots you might have these keywords: Portraits, Headshots, Senior Photos, Bridal Portraits, Actor Headshots, Actress Headshots, Model Portfolios, Model Headshots, Model Portraits, Women Headshots, Men headshots.


You need to setup your website to solve a problem for a person staring at the Google Search field. What keywords would they put into those fields for which I have work that demonstrates I am what they are looking to hire to give them what they want.

Maybe you are an event photographer who covers meetings for clients. Whatever you do to solve clients problems using photos is what you need in categories on your website.

You need a few images in a category to show off the variety of creativity you bring to the table.

Georgia Bulldog’s Freshman Running Back #35 Brian Herrien Scores his very first collegiate touch down while UNC’s Safety #15 Donnie Miles was unable to stop him during tonights Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game September 3, 2016 at the Georgia Dome.

Once people have found your photos on your website and like what they see then they may click on those other galleries that they wouldn’t have been searching. You may have a Personal Favorites gallery or Personal Project that you want to showcase. They might see those if there was something that they searched for to get them to your website.


Two more tips!

  1. Write your bio so that it explains what you do for your clients.
  2. Have your Contact Information viewable on every page that they can click on it to find your Phone number and a way to email you.

Nikon D5 + Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 S – A Winning Combination

Georgia Tech’s last ditch effort at a 2-point conversion that failed. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 4000, ƒ/2.8, 1/4000]
Between the photographer and the subject the camera and lens combination will give the photographer the ability to capture what they desire or fail.

When I started shooting football in 1983 at East Carolina University as part of the student newspaper and yearbook staff I could not have gotten most of these photos due to the camera gear. I was shooting with a Nikon FM-2 with either a Nikkor 80-200mm ƒ/4 or the Nikon 500mm ƒ/8 mirror lens.

This photo of Georgia Tech playing Florida state I shot with that Nikkor 500mm ƒ/8 mirror lens. If you look in the highlights you can see those signature round halos. This was probably the best shot ever with that lens. But this was bright sunlight. I was shooting inside the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

This is one of those images from 1983 when ECU played the University of Richmond. Now just compare those images to these from the Mercedes-Benz Dome of Alabama vs Florida State and Georgia Tech vs Tennessee.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 25600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
First of all these images are far superior in so many ways. They are sharper, better dynamic range and less noise [grain].

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 3200, ƒ/2.8, 1/2000]
Back with film I was never shooting above 1/500. This actually made my images less sharp. Shooting at 1/2000 or 1/4000 will make your images much sharper.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 14400, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000]
Here I got a series of image and these are just two of that series of the blocked punt that I have pulled for you here.

Alabama lnebacker (8) Dylan Moses recovers blocked punt. No.1 Alabama defeated No. 3 Florida State 24-7 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the first college football game to ever be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 16000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000]
While I always say it is the photographer that makes the photo and not the camera, there are times that the camera will limit your abilities. For one just getting the fast action in focus is quite difficult. The Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 S is so quick that I almost never have an out of focus photo during the game.

One of the greatest inventions was to separate the focus tracking from the shutter release. I push the back button to focus and use the shutter to fire the camera. Here is how that is setup.

In the menu Pencil selections pick AF Activation under the Autofocus settings.
Then choose the AF-ON only. This will mean when you push the shutter release it will not focus, but just fire the shutter to take a photo.
By changing these settings you will notice the camera will stay in focus and shoot faster frame rate. Great for following a baseball player sliding into a plate and another player trying to tag them or maybe a football player running towards you to score. You will find more photos tack sharp in a series.
I generally put my focus point dead center and lock it so I don’t bump it. I am trying to get photos of moving subjects and off center is too difficult for me. I may crop later for a better composition, but I want the subject in focus first.
Alabama’s #2 QB Jalen Hurts passes against Florida State during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game. No.1 Alabama defeated No. 3 Florida State 24-7 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the first college football game to ever be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 28800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000]
This action is happening quite a distance from me. I started tracking the quarterback and followed him in the play. Then when I thought I had the moments I started pressing the shutter release.

Florida State’s QB #12 hands off to RB #3 Cam Akers during their match up at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff against Alabama. No.1 Alabama defeated No. 3 Florida State 24-7 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the first college football game to ever be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000]
Here is the Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 lens:

Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 Sport

I also use teleconverters for the lens. I have the 1.4X and 2X converters.

Sigma 2x

Sigma 1.4x

The biggest difference that the Nikon D5 and Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 S make with my images is in the quality. Usually the Nikon FM-2 with the Nikkor 80-200mm or the 500mm I was able to fire and get the first shot. I wasn’t able to get now 12 fps action after that. But the photos are now more in focus, better dynamic range, more accurate color, and lower noise at even ISO 102,400 than I was getting with ISO 1600 on film.

If you shoot sports for a living then I recommend the Nikon D5. If this is more of a hobby or $6,500 is a little much, then get the Nikon D500.

Monday Devotional: Finding Peace in the Storm

ARCADIA, Fla. — Homes destroyed in Fort Myers, Fl., which was damaged by Hurricane Charley. Photograph by Stanley Leary. 8/17/04. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/4000]

James 1:2-5

Trials and Temptations
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

While you may not have been impacted by Hurricane Charlie or Irma you will face your own trials. Each and everyone of us will have a time where some sort of trial of your faith will be challenged.

I think seeing these disasters these past few weeks and watching the news the thing that gives everyone hope is when you see people helping each other. That is what is lifting everyone’s spirits.

Hebrews 13:16

16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

It is amazing that when you help others attain their goals and aspirations you will often find that you met your own desires. However if you concentrate on meeting your own goals and not helping others you seldom will achiever those goals.

Thirteen years ago I covered both Hurricane’s Charley and Ivan. Both went through Florida. Hurricane Irma had me remembering my coverage.

ARCADIA, Fla. — The winds of Hurricane Charley blew over this tractor trailer.  Photograph by Stanley Leary. 8/17/04. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/8, 1/800]
Seeing up close trucks and trains blown over gave me a first hand look at the power of the winds from these hurricanes.

ARCADIA, Fla. — Blown off the tracks near Fort Myers, Fl., which was damaged by Hurricane Charley. This was when I learned that all the freight cars just sit on the wheels so that if there is a derailment they can easily pick them back up and put them on the tracks with a crane. Photograph by Stanley Leary. 8/17/04. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/8, 1/640]
The other thing I was seeing first hand was the destruction of the tornadoes which are often part of the hurricane.

Atmore, Al.–First Baptist Atmore, Al., steeple lays beside the sanctuary after being blown off by hurricane Ivan and in the background are Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers preparing meals for the community. They are part of an estimated 800 Southern Baptist volunteers assisting Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and West Virginia in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan with services that include mass feeding, cleanup and recovery, shower trailers, child care, laundry, and communication. This effort comes on the heels of Southern Baptists having prepared more than one million meals in Florida following Hurricanes Charley and Frances.  Photograph by Stanley Leary. 9/19/04 [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/4000]
My job was to capture all the volunteers during the aftermath of the storms serving meals, cleaning up and providing support to the people who were affected by the hurricanes.

ARCADIA, Fla. — Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers from First Baptist Church of Wetumpka, Al., clear the trees which had fallen on a home in Arcadia, Fl. which was damaged by Hurricane Charley. They are part of an estimated 500 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers now working in Florida providing mass feeding, cleanup, and shower services. Photograph by Stanley Leary. 8/17/04. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/5.6, 1/500]
I would go with the volunteers who had chain saws to help people clear the debris around their homes and driveways.

WACHULA, Fla. — Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Georgia volunteers setup a feeding station at 1st Baptist Wachula, Fl., to help with the damage left by Hurricane Charley. They are three of an estimated 750 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers now working in Florida providing mass feeding, cleanup, and shower services. Photograph by Stanley Leary. 8/17/04. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/9.5, 1/400]
One of the biggest things that the Baptist do after the storms is setup feeding stations where the Red Cross would then pick up those meals and deliver them to the victims, the law enforcement working and t0 other volunteers.

WACHULA, Fla. — Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Georgia volunteers setup a feeding station, showers and water purification at 1st Baptist Wachula, Fl., to help with the damage left by Hurricane Charley. They are three of an estimated 750 Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers now working in Florida providing mass feeding, cleanup, and shower services. Photograph by Stanley Leary. 8/17/04. [Nikon D100, Sigma 18-125mm, ISO 200, ƒ/9.5, 1/640]
I have covered so many hurricanes and tornadoes through the years and each time the volunteers show up and help each other in cleaning up and getting back to the new normal.

People going through finding what they can after the Moore Oklahoma tornado disaster. [Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 200, ƒ/5.6, 1/500]

Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

“With my iPhone we need to face the sun,” said the golfer

[Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, Godox V860IIN, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/640]
I was contracted to cover a golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. One of the guys actually said to me that we needed to turn everyone around and have them face the sun to get the photo.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, Godox V860IIN, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/400]
The executive director who was taking me by golf cart around the course stepped in to explain that I was the professional they hired.

You see the guy was thinking about what he has to do with his iPhone. You cannot get the photo I took above with your iPhone.

[Nikon D5, 28-300mm, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/1000]
One of the main reasons people were hats is to create shadows on their faces. This is how they create the shade for their eyes. Well good for them and bad for photos.

Now using Adobe Lightroom I was able to open up the shadows a little more on the photo, with the guy with a baseball cap, than you can typically do with your iPhone.

By having the group face opposite the sun they are all backlit. I then used my flash on camera to fill in the shadows. This is one of the rare moments I will use a flash on camera.

I didn’t have an assistant and I had to move quickly.

Using the Godox V860IIN flash on i-TTL I could shoot at any ƒ-stop because the flash works with High Speed Sync. So the picture above I was shooting at 1/640 shutter speed.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, Godox V860IIN, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/1250]
While the golfers were warming up on the practice putting green I used the same flash setup to fill in under those hats. With the golfer looking to the ground towards the ball their faces are more often in the shadow.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4, Godox V860IIN, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/1250]
While this is a huge improvement over no flash at all, had I been shooting this for a company to use in their advertising I would get that flash off the camera.

The two photos below demonstrate how getting the flash off the camera gives even better looking light.

[Nikon D4, 14-24mm, ISO 100, ƒ/5, 1/2000]
[Nikon D4, 28-300mm, ISO 800, ƒ/5.6, 1/1600]
Just know that if you need professional quality photos of golfers you will have them squinting with your iPhone or you can use flash and have them face away from the sun.

Shooting the Chick-fil-A Kickoff with Nikon D5: ISO 5600 to ISO 40000

Tennessee’s tight end (82) Ethan Wolf is pursued by Georgia Tech’s line backer (51) Brant Mitchell, which he drops the pass, during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 18000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
What did I learn from my first game in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium?

If I had taken the time before the game and pulled up the last game in the Georgia Dome in Adobe Lightroom I would have had the exposures to compare.

My last game in the Georgia Dome I shot the Nikon D5 at 1/4000 shutter speed. I thought the lighting was darker in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and shot at 1/2000 in the first game.

So this second game I shot all the action at 1/4000. This would give me sharper images due to the athletes constant motion.

In this series of the tight end trying to catch the pass I was able to get a great series of images all sharp due to the 1/4000 shutter speed.

Tennessee’s tight end (82) Ethan Wolf is pursued by Georgia Tech’s line backer (51) Brant Mitchell, which he drops the pass, during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 18000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
Every photo I took was razor sharp. There were some where the auto focus was not where I wanted it due to a player coming between me and the play, but those were sharp, just not the right spot.

Tennessee’s tight end (82) Ethan Wolf is pursued by Georgia Tech’s line backer (51) Brant Mitchell, which he drops the pass, during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 18000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
When you increase the shutter speed you sacrifice the ISO. The reason I didn’t sacrifice aperture is it was already wide open. This sacrifice did introduce a little more noise, but I felt like for the way the photos are used it was an acceptable amount of noise.

Georgia Tech’s quarterback (16) TaQuon Marshall dives for touch down during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 5600, ƒ/2.8, 1/4000]
The photos that I liked technically the least were when the football player’s face was pointed toward the ground. This basically meant there face was like the shadow side of the moon. There is little or no detail in those faces. Now if it were a full moon where the light was hitting the face then it was just perfect.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 18000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]

Occasionally there was enough light bouncing off the field or another player to help brighten up those faces.

Tennessee’s running back (4) John Kelly dives for touch down against Georgia Tech during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 9000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
If the team was in the red zone I would take the 2x converter off and shoot the action at ƒ/2.8. The red zone is the area of the field between the 20-yard line and the goal line.

Now the only time I would take it off is if the play started in the red zone. If they had a break away play I didn’t have time to take it off.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 25600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
I think this photo of the Georgia Tech player going for a catch that is shot at ISO 25,600 is great example of what my Nikon D5 is capable of producing. The advantage here is of course that the player is looking up towards the lights.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 32000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
This photo here is shot at ISO 32000 of the Tennessee players celebrating after a touchdown.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 40000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
This was the highest ISO I shot of the action during the game. ISO 40,000 was more than usable for me.

Why different ISO settings? Well I am shooting in AUTO ISO.

I go to the Nikon D5 Shooting Menu and the pick the ISO sensitivity settings.

I turn on the Auto ISO. Then as you see in the photo of the screen above I set the LOW ISO to 100 and the HIGH ISO to 102400. I then set the minimum shutter speed to 1/4000. At no time during the game did I shoot above ISO 40000 for action shots on the field.

Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Josh Palmer (5) is interfered with by Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back Step Durham (8) during the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs Tennessee Volunteers college football game. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 5600, ƒ/2.8, 1/4000]
While on this play there was interference on another play it was a touchdown for Tennessee.

Tennessee’s wide receiver (1) Marquez Callaway catches pass over Georgia Tech’s defensive back (6) Lamont Simmons for a touchdown during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on September 4, 2017. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm Ä/2.8, ISO 5600, Ä/2.8, 1/4000]
Just compare the photos above. They go from an ISO 5600 to ISO 40000. The way you see them here is pretty much the way most people will see photos from the game–on their computers or smartphones.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 51200, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
Here is one photo of the fans in the stands shot at ISO 51200.

I loved the Nikon D5 for the performance it gave me to capture these images from the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game.

 

Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the first college football game to ever be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Alabama running back Damien Harris (34) blocks a punt. No.1 Alabama defeated No. 3 Florida State 24-7 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the first college football game to ever be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 14400, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000]
Yesterday I had the privilege of shooting the very first college football game at the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

Now here is a shot above from the game and I want to do a quick comparison to the photo I shot last year at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game.

Georgia Bulldog’s Freshman Running Back #35 Brian Herrien Scores his very first collegiate touch down while UNC’s Safety #15 Donnie Miles was unable to stop him during tonights Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game September 3, 2016 at the Georgia Dome. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 45600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000]
One major difference is the color temperature of the lights. In the Georgia Dome last year I shot Kelvin 4600 with +33 Magenta. This year in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium the Kelvin was 5000 with +11 Magenta. Bascially the Georgia Dome was closer to a fluorescent light and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium is closer to daylight.

Alabama’s #2 QB Jalen Hurts passes against Florida State during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game. No.1 Alabama defeated No. 3 Florida State 24-7 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the first college football game to ever be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 28800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000]
The closer you are shooting under 5000º K the better the latitude of your image. Basically you have better colors and contrast range.

While not a huge difference from the 4600º K to 5000º K the difference in the Magenta was much more significant. In the Georgia Dome everyone was a lot greener.

Even shooting RAW I always do a custom white balance. It really helps in post production. I rarely have to do anything with the white balance.

I use the ExpoDisc over the front of the lens and do a incident light reading setting my white balance.

ExpoDisc EXPOD2-77 2.0 Professional White Balance Filter 77 mm, 82mm (Black)
The amount of light in the stadium particularly in the end zones is just over a stop brighter as well.

Florida State’s QB #12 hands off to RB #3 Cam Akers during their match up at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff against Alabama. No.1 Alabama defeated No. 3 Florida State 24-7 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the first college football game to ever be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000]
The new stadium uses LED sports lighting, which is a constant light source. Energy-efficient florescent and metal halide lighting was in the Georgia Dome. The biggest difference is the Georgia Dome lights flicker and the Mercedes-Benz lights are constant. You sometimes got banding in your photos in the Georgia Dome. Not as bad as some stadiums, but the constant LED light source is brighter and constant.

Alabama wide receiver (3) Calvin Ridley celebrates touchdown with teammates in the endzone . No.1 Alabama defeated No. 3 Florida State 24-7 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the first college football game to ever be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 2200, ƒ/2.8, 1/2000]
I thought that the end zones were much better with lighting than the older Georgia Dome.

[Nikon D5, 14-24mm ƒ/2.8, ISO 32000, ƒ/8, 1/2000]
I am looking forward to shooting tomorrow in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium the second Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game over the Labor Day weekend where Georgia Tech takes on Tennessee.

[Nikon D5, Sigma 8mm ƒ/3.5, ISO 64000, ƒ/8, 1/2000]
I did notice that due to the fans having wider concourse and seats less vertical incline that the building is much bigger. My feet had to do a lot more walking to get to the field and from the field to the media work room.

Alabama lnebacker (8) Dylan Moses recovers blocked punt. No.1 Alabama defeated No. 3 Florida State 24-7 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the first college football game to ever be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 16000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000]
[Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, TC-2001, ISO 20000, ƒ/5.6, 1/2000]

Photographer please listen to understand my problems before telling me your solution

Nikon D750, 28-300mm, ISO 7200, ƒ/5.3, 1/100

I believe that photographers either jump to the assumption of false equivalence or just don’t listen to the client and try to understand their perspective.

False equivalence is a logical fallacy in which two opposing arguments appear to be logically equivalent when in fact they are not.

Often photographers are too concerned about their copyright or their pricing issues for example that they are not listening and trying to understand where the client is coming from on a particular issue.

Jumping to quickly to defending your position can ruin a client relationship.

Just as equally true is that many clients don’t want to be bothered with a photographers questions and in the process hurt themselves.

Nikon D750, 28-300mm, ISO 3600, ƒ/4.8, 1/100

Do you want a relationship with a client that turns into a long term income stream?

If you do then you will be committed to the nuances of the communication process in a relationship. You will be the one who is always seeking to serve the client and meet the needs before the client is even aware they have those needs.

Understanding vs Comprehension

The words are synonymous but have slight difference between them. Understanding has a connotation of a deeper, fuller realization of a matter while comprehension is less deep and less full. … If this person read a bit of poetry, he might comprehend the words but could easily not understand the meaning.

When you have a conflict and the client wants something that appears to be a problem, you need to be able to empathize with their perspective. When you are able to understand and empathize with their concerns and why they are asking for something, then you are able to see if you can address those concerns and word your communication in such a way to show you understand and feel their concerns.

Your communication about the problem you need to address is now going to have a potentially better outcome if you really understand their problem.

Don’t Assume

Please don’t be quick in this process of trying to understand that you jump to the conclusion you do understand and try and address the problem that you think you are completely aware of in your communication.

Always, Always, Always do you very best to communicate that base on what information you have this is what you understand. Ask them to correct you if you are missing information that you have not been taking into account. They may have not mentioned something that they are now aware of that they didn’t think about when they first talked to you.

Remember this is like dealing with a stream of water that you are trying to cross. The water is always flowing and in doing so it is always changing.

Learn to go with the flow and if you do you may build better relationships.

Know your limits

If the client asks for something you cannot do, because you know your limits, phrase your response in a way that says you do want to help.

Client wants something for $400 but you have to charge $500 to make any money at all. Go back to them and say I am more than willing to do the job at $500 but not any lower.

Client needs you on a day you cannot make it. If you can move this to another day or I can get you someone else to take care of you, which would you like to do?

Remember to be sure you have done everything you can to understand all the client’s concerns and are doing all you can to meet them within your abilities and ethics to do so.

Dentistry & Photography have a lot in common

This x-ray I got on-line in creative commons of a dental implant that also had a sinus lift. I am going through that process right now.

The tooth to the right with a post inside the tooth after a root canal is what failed and started the process. Because they had to pull it I asked to be put to sleep so in case the tooth cracked even more and they had to dig out the parts I wouldn’t even know that was going on.

Now the oral surgeon asks what do you want do after you have the tooth removed. Do you want a bridge where they grind down a tooth on either side and they then put a tooth between supported by those teeth or you can have an implant. That is what the screw is in the middle.

I went with the implant plan. So to have the tooth pulled, put in bone graft and be put to sleep was around $1,200.

Four months later I came back they x-rayed and discovered there was not enough thickness of bone for an implant. They recommended a sinus lift. They put in more bone graft and you wait another four months and then they put in the implant. After another four months they put in a Abutment which a couple weeks later then you go to your dentist to have a crown attached.

To get the sinus lift, the implant and Abutment was another $5,000. I still will have to see what the final cost of the crown will be, but I am thinking $1,500 – $1,800.

Right now my cost has totaled what is close to a Nikon D5. I have spent $6,200.

Togo, West Africa

While we all cringe on prices, I am still surprised as to how much people often cringe at a photographer’s estimate.

Most all the costs for the dental implant are for labor and not the actual materials. I doubt seriously if the actual cost of a implant, Abutment and the crown are more than $100 in raw materials. You are paying for the expertise of the medical professionals to craft it and put it safely into your mouth.

We do know that if you cross the border to have medical work done you can get it for a fraction of the cost due to the most expensive part of medicine–labor costs.

The reason we spend money on our teeth like we do is for two reasons. Being able to chew our food and to look good.

Photographers need to remind themselves that the costs to produce great quality work so that your clients or their products look good is like the medical profession. Sure we have expensive gear like doctors use, but the largest expense is often our labor.

Your labor costs that you build into your prices determine the lifestyle you want to live. Price yourself to thrive rather than just get by or worse losing money.

Monday Devotional – Photographer you are the “Greener Grass”

I am photographing Jeff Raymond, James Dockery and Pat Davison on our Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Workshop in the Balkans this summer.

Last night my wife and I were out to dinner with another photographer and their spouse. We had gotten together to talk about how to market yourself as a photographer at events like Chamber of Commerce hosts.

Dorie, my wife, reminded our friend that as a photographer you have one of the coolest jobs to most people. Photographers are the yard on the other side of the fence that looks greener to your neighbors.

The Grass is Always Greener …

Photographers should know that perspective can often be very deceiving yet we too let our eyes look at our neighbor’s yard and think it is greener until you are actually standing in the yard will you see all the patches.

Ecclesiastes 6

6 There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: 2 a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous evil. 3 If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life’s good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. 4 For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered. 5 Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest rather than he. 6 Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy no good—do not all go to the one place?

7 All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied. 8 For what advantage has the wise man over the fool? And what does the poor man have who knows how to conduct himself before the living? 9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

10 Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to dispute with one stronger than he. 11 The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man? 12 For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?

Solomon’s point in his writing of Ecclesiastes is that our lot in life is determined by God whether we’re rich or poor, whether we have good health or bad. But these things do not lead to happiness. That only comes as God grants it to us.

James Dockery enjoys taking photos and showing the boys in the Balkans their photos.

Jesus taught his disciples to be obedient to God.

John 15:10-11

10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

While we may work really hard at keeping God’s commandments we need to also be reminded that we are human. We will screw up again and again. The good news is we are forgiven.

Ephesians 1:7

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

An officer of the Cadre at The Citadel starts pointing out the flaws to the new Knob [freshman] as he awaits finding out his room assignment in the barracks.
The fourth class system of The Citadel is for me a great reminder of the idea of following orders yet always being wrong. For those who learn to follow those orders then they move on to places of leadership.

The good news about photographers appearing to have “Greener Grass” is that many times when you introduce yourself people want to know what you photograph. Where is the most interesting place you have been? Who is the most interesting person you have met?

While you may thing that all the problems in your yard are so horrible, remember today that you do live where the grass is greener.

Prayer for today:

Dear Lord thank you for the talents and gifts you have given me. Thank you for blessing me with being able to meet so many of your creation and get to know them and tell their stories through my camera.

While there are so many things that I could be doing today when I look around, Lord keep me focused on your priorities. Help me to stay true to your word and help me to keep your commandments.

While I might not understand why you have given me a burden today and a task to do that I don’t understand, please bring joy into my life that I am doing your will.

 

 

Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT: GETTING A NATURAL FILL LIGHT FEEL

 

Godox V860IIN + Godox X1NT

I just purchased the Godox 860IIN [$199] with the radio transmitter Godox X1NT [$49.95]. The reason I did this is I loved the Neewer TT850, which is pretty much the same flash with the TTL capabilities.

GODOX X1-N FEATURES

Godox 2.4GHz RF Radio System
Range – 100m +
Flash Modes – iTTL / M / OFF
HSS to 1/8000th
Second Curtain Sync
FEC / FEB – 1/3rd Increments (±3 Stops)
FEL (Flash Exposure Lock)
Manual Flash – 1/128 – 1/1 Output (1/3rd Increments)
Remote Flash Zoom (Auto / Manual) (Global for All Groups Only)
Group Mode – 5 Groups A / B / C / D / E (D & E Are Remote Manual Only)
32 Channels
Large LCD Display with Back Light
HSS Delay Setting – 0~19.9ms, (100us Increments)
Modeling flash
Auto Memory Function
AF Assist light (With an On/Off Switch)
Wireless Shutter Release
Micro USB Port for Firmware Upgrades
Transmitter PC Sync Port – Input & Output
Receiver 2.5mm Sync and Shutter Release Port – Output

I think the radio transmitter is what really made the difference to me. First the radio transmitter for the Neewer TT850 required me to tape it to the side of the flash or it could get bumped off and the channel selection was dip switches that often got bumped. You would need to use a hot glue gun to fix it from being bumped.

Now on this new Godox I bought I can still pick manual mode and dial in Full power to -1/128 like i did before with the Neewer system. See the photo of the radio remote that shows you group A & C on manual and B on TTL.

Besides being able to now use TTL the biggest reason I wanted to buy the flashes was for High Speed Sync up to 1/8000. This will let me shoot at ƒ/1.4 outside using flash.

Getting A Natural Fill Light Feel

My setup

I started with the flash closer and then realized even tho it is TTL if you back it up just a little you stand a better chance of not over exposing as much.

Pulled the flash back a bit after test shots
No Flash

Now what I want to do with my use of the Godox flash, or any flash, is to wink the flash in so as to clean up the skin colors and remove some of the shadows often created from the sun being above most subjects during the main part of the day.

I set the flash on Group A and the Trigger to Group A on TTL with the exposure compensation set to 0.

Now I did not adjust the exposures in Lightroom. I just wanted you to see what the camera and flash do without any help from tweaking the exposure.

-1 Exposure on flash. Camera is at 0 compensation.

Here you can see the setting on the Radio.

Whil E and B have some settings in manual mode, I have only one flash set on Group A. So this is the only thing that matters for my setup. If I had other flashes set to Group E and B then they would be important.

-2 Exposure Value on Flash
-3 Exposure Value on Flash

Now you also can have the camera under and over expose. I am usually shooting in Aperture mode so when you under or over expose the camera will adjust Shutter Speed and/or ISO to get the proper exposure.

-3 EV on Camera and +1 EV on flash [ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/500]
Now the downside to using TTL is that if you move the camera the light values change in the scene. The camera’s sensors are what is used to figure out the TTL proper exposure. The camera will make the scene look normal or under exposed or over exposed depending on your settings. However, this doesn’t mean it is what you were looking for, it is as the camera’s sensor is interpreting the data.

This is why switching the flash to manual mode you can keep it the same value as long as the flash and the subject remain the exact same distance from each other.

+1 EV on camera and -3 EV Flash

I believe that sometimes the flash is too strong and makes the background look unnatural. Many photographers use no flash and just open up until the face looks great and let the background go really hot.

I find that if I am going for high key then over exposing in the camera and just winking that flash at -3 EV looks natural yet color correct on skin tones better than without the flash.