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Archive for 'Educational Content'

December 12, 2012
My clients ask me this all the time so I thought I would share my favorite apps for the iPhone. If you buy only one app for your iPhone BUY THIS ONE! CAMERA+ Do not just type in camera plus…it is actually camera+...
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My clients ask me this all the time so I thought I would share my favorite apps for the iPhone.

If you buy only one app for your iPhone BUY THIS ONE! CAMERA+
Do not just type in camera plus…it is actually camera+ and the other one is not the same thing. Once you get it, hide the factory iPhone app and use this.

A few notes…

  • Make sure you adjust the settings to save to your camera roll.
  • Lots of people buy this app but don’t know how to use it. Plant two fingers on the screen. One is exposure and one is focus. Set the focus where you want it and then move the exposure icon to the part of the photo that gives you the best result.
  • This will solve all your backlit dark photo problems!

You will wonder why apple hasn’t bought this and installed it as the native camera app.

 

Shake It Photo takes amazing images in the daytime…but not great at night unless the lighting is right. It has a  polaroid look and shape. Just make sure you adjust the settings to save to camera roll WITH ORIGINAL that way you can always go back.

KitCam allows you to change lenses, film, borders and some other general settings to take more artistic photos. However, please undrstand it is not a one button process, there is work involved to getting a good shot. Hipstamatic is also really cool!

PhotoForge2 is a great app for editing your photos. The first tab is the best as you can change , exposure, clarity, levels, curves and a host of other things easily. You can see the change right there so you don’t actually have to know how to use them like you would in photoshop. Just click and drag around a little. The other thing is you can send straight to a postcard. They send out an amazingly well printed thick photo card right from your phone via the post office. We send them out all the time while on vacation. It’s nice to see real prints and not just another file you store on your computer – rare to be seen.

Lastly, For editing you can also try the immensely popular Snapseed.

Video:
8mm:This produces wonderful old school super 8 looking movies and does it very well! I personally like the 1960′s era.

Action Movie: This is really an app for 12 year old boys…but still fun for everyone.

Slo Motion: We have had lots of fun in our house playing in the pool with the cousins and shooting slo motion jump scenes.

September 12, 2012
From Wedding Photography 411: I have been given everything from fifteen-page shot lists to ” I trust you, do whatever you want.”  For most photographers the list doesn’t really matter, unless of...
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From Wedding Photography 411:
I have been given everything from fifteen-page shot lists to ” I trust you, do whatever you want.”  For most photographers the list doesn’t really matter, unless of course, you plan on checking off every item on the list and holding him or her to it.  But, that’s a big mistake and let me tell you why…

If a photographer is sticking to a shot list and knows that you are monitoring it he or she will be so set on getting that list for you that they will miss all the wonderful moments going on at your wedding that are probably far more valuable to you than a shot list you found in a wedding planning guide.  If you have interviewed properly and have heard positive feedback about your photographer then you have to trust that the photographer will do a good job for you as well.

Every photographer is different.  I know plenty who despise shot lists and say that it stifles their creativity and that they refuse to work with them.  I know others who love them and are happy to deliver everything on the list.  I personally don’t mind a shot list and it gives me a great idea of what is important to you.  The reality is that if you paid for a good photographer, he/she will give you everything you want with out you having to ask for it.

If you have any doubts, ask the photographer to walk you through a typical day of shooting and some of the things that they cover.  Also ask to see a few galleries of full weddings and see if they normally cover the things on your list.  If they have, be confident and move on.  If not, politely suggest a small shot list.

-RP

The Real 411: When a bride wants to use a shot list especially for family pictures, I ask that she put an aunt or some other person in the family in charge of the list to assist the photographer in making sure all those groups get done.  Also, when you hand your photographer a list with just names on it like bride with Dave, Steve, Sally, and Lisa; your photographer doesn’t know the faces of those names so it’s helpful to appoint someone who does.  The more family groups you have to photograph the less time there will be for shots of the bride and groom alone and from my experience the more impatient  you can become with your families.  Keep your family group shots simple, a few large groups including everyone is better than lots of smaller groups.

-RE

November 9, 2010
On November 17th my friend Robert Evans and I will be presenting a Live Webinar hosted by the ultimate wedding blog; Style Me Pretty. We have worked hard with SMP owner Abby to deliver all the information you have been...
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On November 17th my friend Robert Evans and I will be presenting a Live Webinar hosted by the ultimate wedding blog; Style Me Pretty. We have worked hard with SMP owner Abby to deliver all the information you have been asking for related to your wedding Photography.

Here are a few of the topics we will be covering and a link to sign up now. The spots are limited so sign up quickly!

  • How to look your best in all your shots!
  • How to determine your wedding photography budget.
  • Discuss typical packages and show you what you should be getting for your money.
  • What photographers are really showing you in their portfolio and whether your photographer has the experience to shoot at the level you want.
  • The importance of having a photography timeline and how to sync it with your wedding planner’s general timeline.
  • The importance of seeing your photographer before the wedding.
  • How to avoid the headache of wrangling family for pictures.
  • Details are what get your wedding published! We’ll show you how to get the most out of your detail shots – and yes, it means planning time to shoot them.

Click here to sign up now and learn more about the webinar which will be on November 17th with times at 7pm and 10pm Eastern Standard TIme


October 11, 2010
I am going to start posting some of my favorite photographers each week. These are masters of their craft in every way. These are the people who have inspired me through out my career. It goes beyond their stunning...
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I am going to start posting some of my favorite photographers each week. These are masters of their craft in every way. These are the people who have inspired me through out my career. It goes beyond their stunning images and into presentation, client list, marketing and all around sense of purpose in their work. Look closely at the technical perfection. This is why they work on the biggest campaigns in the world and why their client list hires them over and over. To produce a great shot is easy. To produce a thousand great shots year after year is the real art of being a professional photographer! These photographers have their share of bad days, family problems, technical issues. It is the true professional who excels despite adversity. Whether a bride, a multi-national corporation an A-list Ad agency, the job has to be perfect and the client doesn’t accept excuses. The life of Pro Photographer can be very stressful at times but the rewards you reap outwiegh the stress. I am not going to showcase their images here, I want you to visit their sites, see how they present their work and study it. If you want to get better, they are the best in their field for a reason. Figure out why! This week’s Photographer has been a source of inspiration for me for many years. His lighting, creativity and style have propelled him from the life of a professional skateboarder and surfer to be one of the hottest photographers in Los Angeles. I am particular drawn to his editorial work but all of it is great. His editorial and advertising work has been featured in publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Malibu, Blackbook, and many others. He is the driving force behind the creative vision of Malibu Magazine, a loving husband, environmentalist, mentor and father of two.

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September 30, 2010
Paul just posted his tip on going solo about a shot he took in Morocco.  I wanted to take some time to comment on this particular photo. It has long been one of my favorite shots of his and was even my desktop...
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Paul just posted his tip on going solo about a shot he took in Morocco.  I wanted to take some time to comment on this particular photo. It has long been one of my favorite shots of his and was even my desktop background image for a while. My love for this shot starts with the man in the image. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be him. When I am answering 50 phone calls, emails, skypes and keeping up with blogs, and social networks, designing wire frames and product spec, shooting jobs and doing post-production and trying to complete the endless lists of tasks on my calendar; what would it be like to have none of that? What if my mind was clear? The simplicity of living in a small house, only one job to do with one task at that job; it sounds like a Zen place to be…

Then there is the flip side of that and the harsh reality of slaving away in the pits all day, with the bad smell of leather hides and dye, the poor pay and the resulting living conditions. I start to think about what is going on his head. Is he happy? is he fulfilled? Does he have love? The fact that you can’t see his face makes these thoughts all the more powerful. From corner to corner this photograph has so much to offer. From the richness of the colors, to the composition that moves you through it to the subject himself. What is he really feeling?

I have been a student of Photography my entire life. I study it daily and am fortunate enough to work with some of the most talented artists in the world. My job is my love but sometimes, even I, take it for granted. I have my off days and can get frustrated just like anyone else. I can be angry at the technology in front of me or the pile of work crushing me like a piano. Then I see an image like this that reminds me what I love about Photography in the first place. An image like this that takes me to another place, another time and I lose myself in it. I think of the passion and dedication of the photographer to go take this image so that I might experience it. I think about the land itself and how different one place is to another. I think about the smells and sounds that a silent image can conjure up. But, most of all I think about the subjects themselves, whether happy or sad, cold or tired, the human condition is shared by us all and images like this level the playing field. In a different life I could have been someone else. A billionaire, a teacher, a toll collector or a doctor. Or I could have been a man from Morocco who works is a leather tannery…

I am grateful for Paul for letting me experience an image like this and be able to think about my own life. It help put things in perspective. It helps me see how lucky I am. I have asked Paul to let us sell this image on PurePhoto Collections and hopefully when he gets back from his trip in a few weeks, he will say yes. He is in Greenland, I think, in a small boat somewhere and probably freezing his ass off. At this moment I am glad I am not Paul Souders, it’s 80 degrees and beautiful and I am safe and warm in front of my computer and not on a small boat in the Arctic ocean.

Workers at Leather Tannery, Fez, Morocco, Africa

September 24, 2010
Posted this over on PurePhoto for it’s 100th post. I thought I would just answer a few questions from our viewers. No fireworks…just something simple that reminds me of why we started PurePhoto. Our primary...
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filed under: Educational Content

Posted this over on PurePhoto for it’s 100th post. I thought I would just answer a few questions from our viewers. No fireworks…just something simple that reminds me of why we started PurePhoto. Our primary goal for PurePhoto when it started was to help educate consumers on how to use their cameras more effectively and give them access to the top professional grade services available. Now obviously that dream has grown significantly larger with more amazing things to come. At the core of it all, though, we love photography and want to help return it to its glory days where people didn’t struggle to use their camera and they could get quality prints to hang in their homes. We are pleased with our success – tens of thousands have signed up and are learning and printing every day but we have much more to do to fulfill our vision. We are working on many exciting new projects and will roll some of them out over the next few months. If you haven’t checked out PurePhoto Collections we also have amazing art from photographers all over the world. There is even a contest running through the end of September to win $500 in art.

Now for some Q&A….

Question #1 from Rich in Florida: I know this is probably a loaded question, but can you recommend a digital SLR camera for a novice who wants a better quality picture than the small, cheap point and shoot cameras. I was looking at some pictures I just took of my daughter and they just aren’t as clear as I would like. I’m not looking to make this a major hobby for me, just something that would be a step up in quality. I’m thinking of spending somewhere between $600 to $800 or if you said its worth to get something that costs $1000, I would consider that too. I’m not looking to break the bank. Thanks for your help and time.

Rich, thanks for writing in and no it’s not a loaded question. While there are many possible answers to questions depending on who you ask, the rules are the same. The first thing to consider is the quality of the camera and resulting image you are looking for. If you just want to take nicer pictures than a point and shoot and want the camera to be a little faster than there is no need to break the bank. If you think it might become more of a passion for you then you may want to consider spending a little more and getting some nicer lenses. We recommend Canon and Nikon because you will get the highest quality and best value for your money. I personally believe that you should spend a little more than $1000 so that you have a camera you can grow into. You may not think you want or need much but once you have a DSLR and see how much better your images are you will get more into it. Many people lose interest due to the quality they are getting from their P&S cameras. Once you have a better camera, learn more about how to use it and then use a better printing service you may be amazed at how much you enjoy shooting.

My top Canon pick below $1000: Canon Rebel T2i

My top Nikon pick below $1000: Nikon D5000

My top Canon Pick above $1000: Canon 50D

My top Nikon Pick above $1000: Nikon D90

Question #2 from Heidi in California: So here is my question. I have a cannon rebel camera and I want to get a close up lens. I know nothing about this and want to know what you suggest.

The first questions I ask people is what they mean by “close-up” lens. Do you want to zoom into the action (i.e. telephoto) or do you actually want a close-up lens (i.e. macro) My guess is that Heidi means she is looking for a telephoto lens so she can get closer to the action without moving. Generally, to be effective, you want something in the 70-200mm range or 70-300mm range. The things you need to be careful of when buying these varying range lenses are the lowest f.stop and the weight.

By lowest f.stop I mean that these lenses have ranges on them. It might be f3.5 when it is at 70mm but f5.6 @ 200mm. What that means to you is that when you are zoomed out to 200mm the lowest f.stop you can use is f5.6 and you will need a lot of light. If you are outdoors at a sporting event then fine. But what if you are at a ballet recital? It’s not going to be great for you. Always buy the lowest f.stop range you can afford!

Now on the off chance Heidi means macro that is another ball game. Macro lenses have a focusing ratio of 1:1. 1 to 1 means that you can be the same distance as your lens away from the subject. For example if you had a 100mm lens you could be 100mm’s away from the object you are photographing. I will put my recommendations for both types of lenses down below.

So here are the Nikon and Canon recommendations:

Telephoto:

Canon:

inexpensive – Canon 75-300mm

higher grade – Canon 70-200mm f2.8L

Nikon:

inexpensive – Nikon 55-200mm

higher grade – Nikon 70-200 f2.8

Macro:

Canon:

inexpensive: Canon 100mm Macro

higher grade: Canon 100mm Macro w/ IS

Nikon:

inexpensive: Nikon 60mm f2.8

higher grade: Nikon 105mm f2.8 w/ VR

Question #3 from Alexandra in Chicago: I keep taking pictures and just store them on my computer. It’s so overwhelming to me. I want to do something with them but now there are just too many to choose from and I don’t know how to get through them, what to choose, how to choose, etc. I feel like they may just be there forever!

Alexandra, it’s a great question and actually one I get a lot! I recently did a post on this on our blog and you can find it here: Edit In vs. Edit Out. Now, editing is just half the battle; once you have learned to edit than your job will be much easier. However, you still need to do something with them. There are two ways to go about this: one has a cost associated with it but it is much easier. If you put all your favorites in a folder and print 4×6′s of them it makes it easier to start the process of “what.”

The 4×6 process: I lay them all out in fromt of me on the dining room table and start to group them. I write down on separate scraps of paper what I might do with them. I then group them near the scrap of paper into albums, piles for larger reprints, piles for framing, etc. Now I have which images I am going to use AND what I am going to do with them. As an added bonus, I have some 4×6′s to give to the grandparents!

The electronic process: The other way is to do this electronically, which is cheaper but sometimes harder to see the vision clearly. In your PurePhoto account you can open another edit window and “create a new gallery.” Then drag images from your left window (library/gallery) into the new folder on the right one. In no time at all, you will have all your “Do Something With” images in one place. You can repeat the process by putting the “Do Something With” folder on the left and adding them to sub galleries on the right.” One of your galleries will probably be a print gallery and you can just order those right on PurePhoto and cross it off your list!

Watch this quick video on “The electronic process” to learn how to edit using PurePhoto.

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vimeo Direkt

Further Reading:

Q&A Session

Photoshop Tip : Removing Dark Circles Under the Eyes (Part 1 of 3)

Quick Tip : Setting your LCD Brightness and Reading a Histogram

Video on using Photoshop to convert to Black and White

September 13, 2010
As I was editing, I noticed my 2nd shooter’s shot next to mine. Not that this is some amazing shot, but I thought it would be cool to show how it was set-up. I have a very specific way I shoot rings and always...
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As I was editing, I noticed my 2nd shooter’s shot next to mine. Not that this is some amazing shot, but I thought it would be cool to show how it was set-up. I have a very specific way I shoot rings and always allow enough time to shoot the dress, shoes and rings the proper way. For rings, I shoot with either a 100mm macro or I throw an EF12 II (12mm) extension tube on a 50mm 1.2. The latter is much harder to control but the results can be stunning as you will see below. For this shot, I was an a room that had nothing in the way of props that many places will have. As you can see, the only thing available was an iron. I tipped it over and held it in place with some pillows. The light was coming in from the door on the right and I had a bridesmaid hold a white envelope on the left side to kick some light back onto it to fill in the shadow side. My first few attempts were OK but it was missing something. I had her poor water down the length of the iron until it filled in the steam holes and began to rise up the lower surface of the rings to create a much cooler effect.

When I enter a room I always look for a few things. The first is a great surface to put the rings on. Then I look for another item, texture, prop, etc to put behind the rings to add some depth. I set the whole thing up in the right light, sometimes it’s backlit, sometimes side-lit. You have to be careful of the reflections and loss of contrast which you will see as you move the set around. You have to be very steady and watch your shutter speed!

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Here are a few other shots..

This was shot in Mexico at the One & Only Palmilla. The room had a a giant gold sun statue in the closet for hanging necklaces on. Then we found a vase that had great texture. The gold statue is about 2 feet behind the vase. It was shot with a 50mm 1.2 with a 12mm extension ring.
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This was shot at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. They had bright colored cushions on all the chairs on the outside patio. This was shot with a 100mm macro. I love using leading lines to direct the view if possible.
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Also shot with a 100mm macro, I placed the rings in the brides hand. She has just had her henna tattoo done the night before.
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This one is pretty obvious ;-) 100mm macro (That’s the bottom of the Do Not Disturb sign)
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This is one of my favorite ring shots! It was shot at the Vibiana in downtown LA. This was taken on a marble stair top at the altar. We used the orange wrapped pin lights that were installed by Classic Party Rentals to light up the background. Then we backlit the rings with a video light and put a large white card in the front to reflect the light back onto the rings to make them pop. Shot with a 100mm macro.
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Just cool…100mm macro
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more henna… 100mm macro
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This was shot in Hawaii. The bride’s dad has all sorts of antique african masks in the hallway off the master bedroom. We unwired it from the wall and laid it down. Then we used a natural wood table set about a foot behind. Natural light was pouring in from huge sliding glass doors behind me. Shot with a 50mm 1.2 w/ 12mm extension tubes..
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Shot with 100mm macro on the brides favorite food…
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August 25, 2010
I found this great little story over on Apartment Therapy about a couple who lives above an Art Gallery that they run. The article likens them to Herb and Dorothy Vogel. If you are unfamiliar with Herb and Dorothy you...
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I found this great little story over on Apartment Therapy about a couple who lives above an Art Gallery that they run. The article likens them to Herb and Dorothy Vogel. If you are unfamiliar with Herb and Dorothy you should check them out. Herb worked in a post office and Dorothy was a librarian. Together over 40 years they amassed a collection of 4,700 pieces of art from some of the most famous artists in the world…before they were famous! They had paintings strung from the roofs, stuffed under the bed and packed in boxes. They donated the enitre collection to the National Gallery of Art but it could only accept 1000 of the pieces as it had no room for a collection of this size…which fit into the Vogels tiny NYC apartment. They gave the rest away to other musueums and then started filling their tiny apartment again.

Herb and Dorothy a film by Megumi Sasaki was just released to critical acclaim but it almost didn’t happen. Here is what the artist had to say about the film:

“They didn’t articulate why they like this particular artwork, why did they collect a certain artist,” Sasaki says. “The only thing they said was, ‘It’s beautiful. I like it.’ How can I make a film about art collectors who don’t talk about art?”

Sasaki had resigned herself to making a 20-minute short film until an interview with Italian artist Lucio Pozzi convinced her that part of the beauty of the Vogels is that they aren’t so academic about what they like. They act on intuition.

That intuition made them one of the largest and most astute collectors in the New York art scene. Collecting the likes of Christo, Schnabel, Koons, Lichtenstein and hundreds of other world class artists. Those who watched said Herb would just walk up to something and point like a hound. He just new what he liked…and what he liked turned out to be some of the most renowned contemporary art in the world.

Watch the Trailer…

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August 25, 2010
These days, editing seems like a long lost art for most people other than professionals. Editing is the art of choosing your best pictures and then taking those to the next level. For most of my career I edited out,...
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filed under: Educational Content

These days, editing seems like a long lost art for most people other than professionals. Editing is the art of choosing your best pictures and then taking those to the next level. For most of my career I edited out, tossing what I didn’t want and keeping the rest. About two years ago a friend of mine forced me to try editing in. It was near impossible at first but after a few jobs it became second nature. Having tried both I could never go back.

Here is the basic premise: let’s say you have 6 similar images in front of you. If you edit out, you may pull out 3 but still have 3 left. In reality, only one is a hero shot. Now, if you edit in, you will pick 1 shot out of the 6 and it is the clear winner. It seems like a small shift in perception but it has a HUGE impact on your workflow. You will edit about 70% faster and have a tighter edit when you are done. This will help you tell the story of the event with less images. You will learn more from looking over a tighter edit and you will do more with the resulting images. In this manner, you can end the analysis paralysis that plagues you and choose good solid images and do things with them.

This is not just a pro-technique, it is probably even more useful for consumers. You come home with a camera full of images and throw them on a hard drive. Maybe you share a few but you get overwhelmed by it all and they just sit there. If you take a few minutes to “edit in” you will reduce the number you are storing, only keep the best, and be more likely to actually print them. Remember life with film? You always had prints and ALWAYS put something up in your home to display, whether on the wall or in an album. Editing In will help you actually do something with your images again so you can truly enjoy your memories.

Below is a screen shot with similar RAW images and the one with the box around it is the winner of the bunch. The reason I picked it over the others should be obvious – it is sharp, it has the best facial expression, and the composition and lighting are great. Maybe I would pick one other that is serious but this is a happy, fun bride and this shot sums up a portrait of her in one shot. Why bother keeping the rest? Neither of us will ever use them.

This is also a cool feature of PurePhoto that may help you organize. You can use our split screen feature to split a CF card into multiple galleries. For example, you may have the Fourth of July parade, bath time, and some winter scenes you shot all on one card before you download. With our split screen feature, you can easily drag and drop those images into different galleries to keep them organized. Now they will be easier to “edit in.”

*On the left is the gallery with the 3 different events, on the right is the main library. You can add new sub galleries as you drag and drop the images from the left panel to the right panel. EASY!

August 17, 2010
We just posted a free video as a little teaser for what is inside the premium content area at PurePhoto.com. This is a simple B&W conversion in Photoshop that requires no advanced knowledge, advanced techniques, or...
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We just posted a free video as a little teaser for what is inside the premium content area at PurePhoto.com. This is a simple B&W conversion in Photoshop that requires no advanced knowledge, advanced techniques, or 3rd party plug-ins. It is a quick Desaturate and Contrast bump.

B&W Conversion