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Kids of Wisconsin 2019 is officially launched!

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Nicki and I are excited to announce that our charity photo book project, The Kids of Wisconsin 2019, is officially launched! One hundred percent of the $100 session fee (per family) will go directly to American Family Children’s Hospital.

We are donating our time to plan a custom session with each family that participates, take the portraits (typically an hour session in the studio or on location) and then prepare and showcase the images for viewing and purchase via an in-studio presenation.

Each child will then be featured in the beautiful, custom-designed coffee table book that we produce at the end of 2019.

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This morning here at the studio, Jamie Perez with Channel 3 in Madison interviewed us about this project.

This is the inaugural year for the project here in Wisconsin, but we have 9 years of experience doing the project when we lived in Orange County (CA).

What started as “The Kids of Ladera Ranch” in 2008 grew into “The Kids of Orange County” and that project raised almost $70,000 for Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).

We are very proud of the work that we did for this project.

The beauty of a project such as this is that it is a total Win | Win | Win.

A win for the charity because they benefit from the good will of our clients (btw, our goal is to raise $10,000 by photographing 100 families that donate $100 to AFCH.

A win for our subjects because this project gives them a reason to schedule a portrait now in order to participate. Portraits are something we intend to do, but often don’t “get around to it”. This project is that little nudge that gets people to plan a session.

Finally it is a win for us because being new in this market, we are looking to become known for the work that we produce. The people who participate in this project are people that really value the giving spirit, value family and value the heirloom quality of our portrait sessions. You will be thrilled with the portraits now and years from now and they will be a treasured heirloom to pass down to your children and grandchildren (I know, heavy stuff!)

Do you have any questions on how the project works?

Send us a note, call us or reach out to us on our social networks! We look forward to having you in front of our cameras soon!

Ayla and Ry Ry were part of this morning’s Channel 3 interview as Jamie video taped me as I was photographing these two gorgeous Lake Mills kids.

Ayla and Ry Ry were part of this morning’s Channel 3 interview as Jamie video taped me as I was photographing these two gorgeous Lake Mills kids.


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Bethany Pryor Photography Behind The Scenes Newborn Photo Shoot Promotion Video

Before we left California, my friend Bethany Pryor and I worked together to create this behind the scenes video of one of her sessions for a client.

She primarily photographs families, kids, and newborns and this session was to showcase how she works with the family on a newborn shoot.

Bethany brings in a make up artist to pamper Mom before the photographs and she has a wide array of clothes and props for the baby as she works from her studio in Orange County.

It was a pleasure to photograph Bethany and help her to promote her amazing work.

You can find her online at https://bethanypryorphotography.com

This video was made for her on the Sony a7RIII and the Sony a9 and a variety of lenses, including the 12-24G, 24-70 GM55 1.8 and 90 macro lenses plus a Zhiyun Crane 3 axis gimbal and Sirui video monopod.

"Infinity" by 100 Years is licensed through Music Bed.

Are you a photographer or a business looking to create a video like this to promote you and your business? If so, please send me a message below

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What I Photographed Today (actually yesterday!) | Real Estate Photography and a Location Portrait Session

In this recap video, I show what I was photographing today in Lake Mills, WI and later in Madison, WI.

The first was a gorgeous country home and I was doing a photo and video shoot for their realtor.

The family portrait was for a Mother's Day Promotion and that session was held at Olbrich Gardens on the east side of Madison.

It was a great day -- a long one -- though very fulfilling. There are some Straight out of Camera (SOOC) photos in the video.

The interiors will require more post production because of the layering technique I used. The portraits though were very straightforward...I used natural light (mostly backlight) and occasionally I used a Godox ad200 with the round head and round diffuser which worked very well to fill the faces in back lit scenarios.

On all of these shoots I used my Sony a7RIII and Sony a9 cameras plus mostly the 12-24 and 16-35 for the interiors.

For the portraits I used the 55 1.8 and the 70-200 for virtually all of them.

The interiors required lighting so I used a combination of strobe (from the ad200) as well as LED lights from PRL Lighting.

Support on the interiors came from Sirui's line up of carbon fiber tripods and heads and they performed flawlessly.

The bags that I used to transport all the gear were from Think Tank Photo. They make wonderful bags and I know the folks that are at the company and they are so supportive of my efforts.

If you have any questions, be sure and post them in the comments below.

If you would like to book a session, send us a message and we look forward to working with you!

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What's in My Bag for a Real Estate Shoot with both Stills and Video?

Tomorrow morning I will have a combined stills and video shoot for a local Lake Mills realtor.

I wanted to share in the video the tools that I will be using on this project. Since it is both stills and video it changes the dynamic a bit in terms of how I consider lighting it.

If the shoot were stills only, I would most likely be using a strobe set up (Godox AD200 and the Godox ad400 Pro).

But video doesn’t work with strobe (flash) so I have to go with LED. So which one to use?

I will be using the small and yet powerful PRL Lighting Lustra L50 unit. The beauty of this unit is that it is powered by the ubiquitous Sony NPF battery and also a small and lightweight AC adaptor (like the size one uses with a laptop.). There are other LED lights on the market with more power but those tend to demand a bigger footprint and a much larger (and heavier) power supply.

Since I am going to do this one on my own, I need to be as light and as mobile as possible because it’s a rather tight window to do both stills and video within the time allotted.

For cameras, I will bring:

The Sony a9 and a7RIII (the a9 for stills; the a7RIII on the gimbal)

The gimball is the Gudsen Moza Air 2, a superb and relatively lightweight gimbal that allows me to work with my preferred lenses for this.

The lenses will primarily be: the Sony 16-35mm f2.8 G Master and the 12-24 f4 G OSS lens. Both are superb and I will probably use the 16-35 on the gimbal camera (the reason being is that it has an 82mm filter thread which I can use to place a Sirui Variable ND filter if necessary).

For support I will be using several Sirui carbon fiber tripods. Lightstands are the small and quick to deploy Cheetahstand C8 which is grab and go easy. Perfect for a one person job like this.

My lights

I will carry the gear in Think Tank cases— the Airport Security for the main camera gear and then the Video Tripod Case for the lightstands. A small Retrospective shoulder bag will carry the overflow.

I did a quick scout of the location the other day and it is a stunning home on an amazing property outside of town. I want to showcase this lovely home in order to help the realtor sell quickly and for top dollar.

I will be posting images from tomorrow’s shoot BTS on my Instagram feed @paulgero

Let me know what you think of the video in the comments below especially re: the things I talk about near the end of the video. THANKS!

Sony 135mm f1.8 GMaster lens sharpness tests are in...

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I had an inkling that Sony's 135mm f1.8 G Master was going to be good...but I didn't expect it to be even THIS good!!

Roger Cicala, the founder of Lens Rentals and one of the really great guys and minds in the photo industry tested 10 pre production models of this new telephoto lens by Sony and the results, were, well, pretty astonishing. 

When Roger speaks I listen.

Cicala said:

“This is the sharpest lens we've tested. Period. At last count that's out of 300+ lenses tested."


To see the full report, please go to: https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2019/03/sony-fe-135mm-f1-8-gm-early-mtf-results/

Another thing that I love about the lens, is the fact that it has the mechanical aperture ring as well as the ability to slide a button to turn off the aperture clicks — perfect for video!

The Focus Lock button is another feature that I have grown to love on the GMaster (and G Series) Sony lenses. That button can be remapped for just about anything and I will remap it for Eye AF when shooting stills.

With the addition of this lens, the Sony line up of what I might call the “Still-Cine” lens line up includes: 24 1.4 GMaster, 35 1.4 FE Zeiss, 50mm f1.4 FE Zeiss, 85mm f1.4 GMaster and the 135 1.8 GMaster. (Please note: the 35 1.4 and the 50 1.4 lenses do not have the Focus Lock button on the side).

I call them this because they are superb as still lenses with AF and all and also work astonishingly well in video modes (especially with the newer model cameras). And while they are all focus by wire lenses, they are very well constructed and have a very natural manual focus feel when using (though I use AF for stills and video nearly 99.9% of the time).