A Trip Around the Infield | Photographs with the Sony 400mm f2.8 G Master

This past Sunday Kate’s softball team played in a tournament in Irvine.

During warm-ups though, she caught a ball on her right hand — her throwing hand — and she was unable to play in the field. It was a deep bruise and very painful. It kept her from playing defense.

But she did bat twice.

The first time, she popped out to the catcher on the first pitch. She winced in pain and was in tears walking back to the dugout. More ice on the hand.

I didn’t think she would play again but she did bat during the team’s final at bat.

First attempt — a bunt —she laid one down but it went foul.

The second was a soft infield hit and she ran for first hard (as usual). A throwing error to first resulted in her getting safely to second. She then stole third and then came home on another teammate’s hit.

Unfortunately the team lost by one run but I was very proud of the way she gutted it out and made something happen by sheer hustle and determination.

Davis | Class of 2019 | Tesoro H.S.

These portraits are from a very recent session with Davis, who will be graduating in the spring from Tesoro H.S.

This session took place at Salt Creek Beach and we had an amazing shoot.

His Mom, Jennifer, was there and I also worked with my lighting assistant (in this case, my 12 year old daughter Kate!).

It’s always great to see young people like Davis who are going to make great contributions to our world — he is planning on attending Baylor and hopes to be a doctor.


New Think Tank Emergency Rain Covers for your Camera Gear

Emergency-Rain-Cover lowres.jpg

Now that we will be moving to the land where it does rain, these new emergency rain covers could not have come at a more perfect time!!!

Our friends at Think Tank Photo have released two new concepts in camera gear protection. The Emergency Rain Covers, that come in two sizes, are small, lightweight, fast-deploying protective covers you can have on hand when weather conditions change swiftly and you need to protect your bodies and lenses. 

The Lens Case Duos are protective lens sleeves that can be used both when transporting your lenses in transit and while shooting. They are available in a range of sizes to fit most DSLR and Mirrorless lenses. Don’t forget that when you use these special URLs you will receive free gear and free shipping on all orders over $50.…/emergency-rain-cover-mediu……/lens-case-duo-series…

Delivering images to your clients -- some great resources for this part of your workflow

 Pixieset, ShootProof, Zenfolio and Photoshelter are four companies delivering high quality digital delivery to clients (and even more!).

Pixieset, ShootProof, Zenfolio and Photoshelter are four companies delivering high quality digital delivery to clients (and even more!).

I hope you're Wednesday is going well!

I just wanted to share a couple links that you might find useful for when it comes to your digital delivery of images to your clients.

Even though I often sell prints to my clients I deliver images to them, slideshows, etc. digitally via download. In the past I delivered images in CDs with custom cases and now I love the simplicity of the digital downloads. Some photographers use USB drives that are customized with logos and boxes and that is great. 

For my weddings that are only photography and images only I don't deliver any physical product in order to save on having to collect sales tax (disclaimer: I'm not a CPA or bookkeeper and check with your state or region -- laws may vary).

The service that I use most for my portrait and wedding clients currently is a Canadian company called Pixieset.

I find their galleries to be simply superb, clean and easy to navigate. Downloading photos is easy for my clients. It's perhaps more "basic" in terms of feature sets than some other companies out there (which are coming up), but I just find it comfortable and easy to use and that makes a big difference. I liken their interface to the simplicity of working with Squarespace as I do for my main website.

Pricing for Pixieset starts at $0 (yes, that's right Free) and goes up to $40 per month if paid annually or $50 if paid monthly. You can see their rates here. The only caveat is that their top plan maxes out at 1000 GB.

Shootproof is another company that is similar to Pixieset and also market heavily in the portrait and wedding space. For many photographers I know, it gets down to selecting either Shootproof or Pixieset. My friend Marc Weisberg uses Shootproof and is very pleased with them.

Pricing for Shootproof starts at $0 (for up to 100 images) and goes up to $60 per month (for unlimited number of images, up to 50mb per individual file). You can see more details about their rates here.

Zenfolio is a company that I have used for many years and I primarily use them to host my archives. Their services start at $5 per month if paid annually (or $7 monthly) and go up to $30 per month if paid annually (or $42 monthly). They offer website services as well.

You can find more detailed features and pricing for Zenfolio here

I have used all the three above and they are all very good -- you have to try them out for yourself to see which one fits you best.

And the bonus one to consider is PhotoShelter. This company has been around for a long time and is used a lot by commercial and editorial photographers and they, much like Zenfolio, offer websites as well as hosting archives. I love their commitment to that industry and they provide much useful educational content. 

Their services start at $10 per month if paid annually (or $12.99 monthly) and go up to $45 per month if paid annually (or $49.99 monthly).

You can check out their pricing

If you are a heavy shooter who wants to find a home for those files then PhotoShelter, Zenfolio and Shootproof should be the ones you check.


As always, keep making great images!



p.s. before I go for today, I wanted to share with you a very inspiring podcast that I listened to during my pre dawn walk. 

If you have ever struggled trying to step out and market as a creative, I think you'll find this podcast an incredibly useful listen:

Cathy Heller was recently a guest and she talked about how she came to LA to live her dream and become a recording artist. She got her contract with Interscope Records -- her dream -- and then, it ended.

How was she going to create a sustainable life and business still making music? You'll hear some of her unique ideas and ways to market in this podcast. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


A Simple Photo Lighting Technique with On Camera Flash

Happy Thursday!

Yesterday I received a couple of the new Sony HVL-F60RM radio controlled flash units. Are you, by chance, using speed lights in your work?

One of the things that I am anxious to test is how well it handles prolonged bounce flash. It’s a technique I call "over my shoulder bounce."

This is the way I typically shoot a lot of my work — weddings, bar or bat mitzvahs, corporate events, etc. It's simple, fast and gives me a great quality of light.

I'm using TTL (though manually selecting my shutter, aperture and ISO) since TTL has gotten quite good).  Plus this Sony flash has a very unique way of articulating -- almost a windshield wiper effect.

 The Sony HVL-F60RM in the hotshoe of a Sony a7RIII with 12-24mm f4G OSS lens on a Sirui tripod and ballhead.

The Sony HVL-F60RM in the hotshoe of a Sony a7RIII with 12-24mm f4G OSS lens on a Sirui tripod and ballhead.



The way this technique works is that the flash turns around, the light whisks past my receding hairline and then — once it hits a white or light wall — it creates a BEAUTIFUL and amazing wall of soft light.  

It’s like taking a small, and very harsh ball of light and turning it into a 4-8 foot soft source of light (depends on how far you are from the wall — that affects the overall size of the new reflected light source). 

>>>(Warning: this technique does NOT work especially well with dark walls and ceilings — but don’t be afraid to try — I’ve even bounced off the leaves on trees while outside! Also, I use AWB with RAW + jpeg so that the camera adjusts for any slight color change because of the bounce. I find in most light ceilings/walls/color temperature runs around 4200-4500 degrees Kelvin)<<<

One huge advantage in using that technique these days is that high ISO is so good compared to what it was 5-10 years ago. With my first full frame camera — the Canon 5d (which was a great tool) — I was only comfortable shooting at 1600 ISO in color and 3200 in black and white.

Now with my Sony a9 or the a7RIII, I don’t even break a sweat shooting at 6400 or even 12800 ISO! And, if I was in a pinch, I’d push to 25600 and just turn it to black and white !!!!

Seriously though, shooting high ISOs and bearing a heavy penalty for that is a true thing of the past.

My typical starting point when working this technique is f2.8 or f3.5 (or f2, if necessary), a shutter speed of 1/125th (or higher if I need to stop action — and I will go down to 1/50th or 1/60th if I am photographing static or slowly moving things, details, etc.). 

Since I’m using a flash unit with a dedicated Sony MIS hotshoe, the camera detects that and instantly turns Setting Effects OFF (this is a digital equivalent of an optical viewfinder so the light in the scene stays even. If you use a flash withOUT the MIS foot and you keep setting effects ON, then the viewfinder can get very dark and hard to focus in very low (reception type) of lighting. You won’t have to worry about that if you get a flash like this, or a third party flash that is dedicated to Sony)

I don’t use HSS with flash in this mode — HSS wouldn’t even kick in at my usual shutter speeds and if it did, there would be a penalty on flash power in doing so. HSS is most useful to me in working outdoors when I want to use a large aperture in typically a single person portrait.

I hope you found this technique helpful. 


Do you have any special on camera flash techniques that you use?  Please be sure to share them in the Paul Gero Education Private Facebook group!


Have a great day and I hope you get to go out and make some great images!!