Friday, December 31, 2010

Promaster Mini LED Review Part 1

Let's look at my first try with the LED lights.  At this point I've had them for a little over 24 hours and had shot a total of 4 photos with them prior to this test.  So let's see the control photo (please note these are not my best, they normally wouldn't be shown but they do provide some idea as to how the lights preform)

This is straight off the camera.  I shoot only in RAW, so this is without any adjustment at all.  (I'll post later about RAW vs. JPG I promise.)  All photographs end up being processed in some form or fashion but that's another post all together.

Now let's look at the control with some adjustments.  

This isn't the best processing I've ever done.  I was in a hurry trying to get this post done.  It's not a bad little photo though.  If I was selling that snowman I'd probably say it was a passable product shot.  (Disclaimer: Product shots are not my thing.  Really I'm clueless about what makes a good product shot.)

Now let's look at the Mini 9 LED.

First Up Straight Off The Camera Mounted in the Hot shoe:

Awfully bright for my tastes.  The highlights are really blown out.  The shadow is kinda large too.  I didn't move though from the spot I was in the control.  The only thing that changed was the exposure to attempt to get spot on exposure.  

I do post of my processing in Lightroom and it has this great function to be able to sync your adjustments with another picture.  So I did that with the control.  Let's see how that worked.

WAY TOO COOL.  The color temp is way too cool that's why the white is blue.

Now on to the the real post process.

Slightly better but I'm not thrilled with the brightness and shadows.  There was no way to balance it well either.  Ok, not in the whole 2 minutes I spent doing this photo.  Of course the lights may not be best used up close with a metal object that can reflect the light back.  The rest of the lighting in the room is not ideal for taking photographs at night anyway.

The next thing I did was take that metal bar that you saw in the first post and attach it to the bottom of my camera and attached the light to it.  This put the light on the right side of my camera.  So let's look at the finished product.

This is much better and probably could have even been better had I given it time in Lightroom.  I used that great sync feature and processed it with the first processed photo.

Next time we'll look at the larger mini LED.

Whatever Friday

Friday's from now on will be whatever strikes my fancy.  Who knows what may be here but hopefully it'll be something that interests you.

This week?  Review of my Christmas present.  I got two Promaster Mini LED Camera Lights.  I got the 9 LED  and I got the 28 LED versions.  They have bigger ones available but those were the two that the hubs saw me looking at.

So let's start with what you get in the box.

You get the light and an adapter that can screw into the bottom of your camera or on a tripod on one end and the other end has a hot shoe where you can slide the light on.  

To keep the post from being super long I'm going to do it in section.  The first section can be found here.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Week 0 in 365 Photographs

Well the first of the year hasn't arrived so it's not really the start of the 365 photographs.  I am though trying to get a blogging schedule figured out for the upcoming year.  So this is when the photos will be posted that I've taken for that challenge.  This will keep from overwhelming you guys or keeping me up all hours trying to get my photo done in time to get them on here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Photo Project

I hope to set Wednesday aside to share a photo craft with you.  Not all of us are scrapbookers and sometimes just putting a picture in a frame won't cut it.  I don't have any projects done and I don't have any ideas for one right now either.  But it's a goal of mine to do that for you guys.  I'm bad about not doing anything with the my photographs and I have to solve this.  Hopefully this is part of the blog helps to improve that for all of us.  In the meantime check out these blog posts from craft blogs I've been stalking lately.

Photo beads
Photo Bags
Accordion Album

If you make one of these or if you have a great photo based craft post it here.  Would love to see what you all are making.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Food Tuesday - Food Photography

I don't have a lot of tips for food photography.  It's not really my thing but I do want to do more of it, because well it always looks cool.  :-)  I figure any photograph I takes improves my skills a little.  I do have a photo to share with you.

I took this photo at Zoobilee.  Now it's not the only photo that I took that night but, it made it into the zoo's magazine!  Which made me very happy.  I wish it had an online version because the other half of Shield's Photography got the cover.  It was pretty sweet to see our names in print.  I'll have to break out the scanner and scan the article in.  Oh if you happen to live in the Topeka area you can join FOTZ and get your own issue.  

Monday, December 27, 2010

Finding Your Style - Finding Your Photographer

I was reading over at HoneyBear Lane about her goal to "Say No To The Mom Uniform".  She wants to find her style.  We all need to do this, if we don't know what our style is.  What does this have to do with photography?  Glad you asked.

Every photographer has a style.  Your style and your photographer's style need to match up.  Neither one of you will be happy otherwise.  If you are a traditional style and your photographer is casual style you aren't going to mesh.  One of you is going to be out of your comfort zone and it will show in your pictures.  Nothing should be forced.  If you want perfectly posed, traditional photographs then your photographer needs to be a posed photographer.  A casual-style photographer may do a few poses but they won't be comfortable with an entire session of poses.  The same goes if you want casual photos and you choose a traditional photographer.

What if I don't know my style?

That's ok.  We can figure it out, or better yet you can all by yourself.  How is your house decorated?  Is it traditional or do you lean more to the modern?  When you see pictures that your friends have had done what do you like?  Do you like the ones where everyone is posed?  Do you like the ones where it looks like someone captured a moment in their life?  Do you like indoor, studio photos?  Do you like outdoor, nature, natural photos?

Are you getting an idea of what you like?  Good!!  By now you should be forming an idea of what you want your photographs to look like and what kind of photographer you want to take them.  This is a key step in choosing your photographer.  You should now be ready to start an educated search for your photographer.

How do I find a photographer?

Google.  Ok it won't be that easy but it's a good starting spot.  You can search for photographers in your area.  Most will have some sort of website with a few pictures that they have done at least.  You'll get an idea for their style.  They should also have sort of contact information on the site that you can/could call, email, Facebook, or Twitter with them.

You could also look on bulletin boards in area businesses for brochures and business cards of photographers in your area.  You might just find a gem there.

You could ask for recommendations on Twitter.  We actually got a client that way.  I have a saved search for people talking about photographers in my area.  That way if someone is looking for one I can always toss myself in the mix.

Search Facebook everyone is on Facebook it seems and you might just be able to find the photographer of your dreams there.

Alright, I have a list of photographers I like now what do I do?

First things first do they fit in your budget?  If their starting price is $500 and you only have $200 things aren't going to work.  You either need to save more money up or move on to another photographer.  If you aren't working with a time table you can save up the money or you can see if they do mini sessions cheaper.  You'll be able to get a few images that way.

Speaking of money high price tags doesn't mean the best of the best.  Look at their photographs, online and in person, you want your money's worth but you there is no need to pay more than what it's worth.  I'm willing to bet that there is a photographer out there that matches your style and your budget.

Do they do the type of session you want done?  If you want a family session and they only do weddings then it's time to move on again.

Now that you've got your list of photographers that match your style, your budget, and what you want done it's time to get in contact with them.  YOU HAVE TO TALK TO THEM!!!  It's the only way to be sure that you really do mesh.  This is also the time to schedule a time to look at their portfolio.  They've got one trust me.  Find out the nitty-gritty of a session with them.  Do you have to purchase a certain amount of prints from them?  What are your options for products?  Do the products they offer match up with what you want?

Hopefully now you have found the perfect photographer for you and your family!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

What Have I Been Doing?

The Christmas Holiday is over.  I have a cold but other than that it was a wonderful time.  I got a new sewing machine.  I was in need of one.

The picture didn't show up so if you want to see it click on the link.

(This one isn't mine but it sure looks like it, including the cabinet.  I found the picture on google from this website)

Now I have this machine:
(It's a Brother SQ 9000 So far I'm in love!! When I get a project completed I'll be sure to blog about it.)

I also got a couple of Mini LED Camera lights.  I can't wait to start playing with them more than I have.  I'll be posting about them later.

I've also been working on changing one of the spare bedrooms from a bedroom to a craft area.  I have lots of crafty stuff stuck in boxes, drawers, and corners but hopefully soon I'll have it all in one area.  Then I'll be able to work in there creating all kinds of stuff.  Hopefully I'll also know what I own and won't have to run out to the store for everything. 

Oh and in my usual let's wait until the last minute style I have chosen the photo to enter in the Visit Topeka Photo Contest. I have it ordered, and will hopefully have to them in time to get it judged.  Oh want to know what I'm submitting?

I took it on the Photowalk this spring.  I really love it and hope that it speaks to someone else too.  I'll let you all know how I did.

Starting New Years Day

I'm going to participate in a 365 photo challenge.  It's not for anyone or anything other than to snap more photos, get better, and have some fun.  I'm going to post attempt to post each one of the photos.  Some may not make it because of privacy issues but I'll post as many as I can.  Wish me luck! lol

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blog Changes

As you can tell from the fact that I haven't blogged since August that I have a hard time doing this.  So I've decided to change things up a little bit.  I'm not just going to blog about my photography.  Maybe I'll find someone who wants to guest blog!!  Wouldn't that be exciting?  :-) I'm going to try to share more information about photography in general and some creative things to do with all those photos.  Stay tuned!!
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