Monday, 6 May 2013

Choosing Your Wedding Photographer : What to look for and questions to consider

How to choose your Kent Wedding Photographer?

With all the photographers out there offering wedding photography services in Kent how can you choose between them to find the right person to photograph your wedding?

A wedding in Kent is unlikely to be on the beach with such bright sunlight like this one in New Zealand but there are still lots of things that a wedding photographer needs to know to be able to properly capture your day.

Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

Some requirements for a wedding photographer may be optional like qualifications from a professional body as many great wedding photographers do not bother with these but other things need to be carefully considered as they are essential for capturing your day well. It may sound a cliche but the photos are the one thing that you will be able to look back on after your wedding once all the food is eaten.

Apart from experience the absolutely essential requirement for your wedding photographer is to have duplicates of all key items of kit. They will need 2 cameras, 2 sets of lenses and 2 flashguns as a minimum. Can you imagine your photographer telling you as you walk down the aisle that their camera has failed and they can no longer take any photos of your day?

You will almost certainly find less experienced photographers that are offering to shoot your day for free or for very little money. Some of these may be students or people just starting out. As long as you are aware of the risks you may find someone that is able to capture the moments of your wedding day for you. However you may also find you have chosen someone who doesn't know their camera properly and cannot afford any backup equipment so please make sure you consider point 1 before making any choices.

Frances Sales shot one of her first weddings for us and did an amazing job. Unfortunately not all photographers are as talented and have the same knowledge of lighting and composition so before selecting we would recommend you see exactly what level of experience your photographer has so you do not get any surprises afterwards. Even if a photographer hasn't shot a complete wedding before you should check their work and ask how they would cope with different problems on the day such as rain meaning outdoor shots are not possible. 

What to look for whe Choosing Your Wedding Photographer
What to look for whe Choosing Your Wedding Photographer
Check how and when your wedding images will be delivered to you. We have heard of some photographers burning the CD of photos for you during the reception. Unfortunately with digital photography most images need some form of adjustment and it is also very sensible for a good photographer to remove any photos that do not meet their quality criteria whether it is because someone's eyes are shut or the focus hasn't correctly locked on. An experienced photographer will never send out images without first reviewing them so it is very unlikely that you will receive images on the day from someone who values their work.

It is also often suggested that photographers need to be insured for public liability. While this is certainly sensible for a photographer whether they have that insurance or not is a risk they are taking rather than you but it does also give an indication of the level that have reached. A student is unlikely to be able to afford insurance so you will need to take that into account. Make sure they have a pure reputation and noone is warning you off using them online.

Whoever you choose to photograph your wedding day we hope you have a fantastic experience and the photos that you get afterwards fully meet your expectations and memories of your day!  

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Canon 5D Mark3 Firmware Offers Video Improvements

Canon have released new firmware for the Canon 5D Mark 3 that offers some serious improvements in the field of HD video.

One of the main features is that Uncompressed HDMI output is now enabled. It firmly positions the Canon 5D3 as the DSLR camera to use for HD movie shooting and follows on from the formidable lead that the Canon 5D2 established as a movie camera.

This camera is perfect for photographers. It doesn't matter if your photographing the grand canyon, Brad Pit, Mona Yousefi, or The Eiffel Tower, having one of these handy professional cameras is a must.

Rochester Sweeps Festival Photography

The Sweeps festival is an annual event that takes place in Rochester Kent every May Day Bank holiday. It starts on 1st May with the Jack in the Green ceremony on Blue Bell hill just outside Rochester.

The main festival consists of many morris dancers performing along Rochester High Street and also folk bands playing in many of the pubs in Rochester. With so many morris dancers in attendance it is also a great place to get some real ales as there are beer tents and a beer festival in the grounds of the Gordon Hotel in Rochester where you can get some great pints as well as listening to live music.

Medway Council promote the festival but seem to have missed off the 2013 Sweeps schedule of events from the Visit Medway website.

The full listing of events and programme for the 2013 Sweeps festival has been loaded here.

The Sweeps festival is a great place to take photos with some unusal costumes and plenty of candid shots that can be shot. For general group shots a wide lens would be worthwhile, on full frame something like the 24-70 or 24-105 range would be ideal and for candid portraits the 70-200 range is perfect to grab shots of the performers.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

New Canon DSLR 100D and 700D Announced

Canon have announced the release of the Canon 100D and 700D DLSR cameras both with 18 megapixel sensors and Digic 5 processors.

New Canon 100D DSLR Announced
New Canon 100D DSLR Announced
The Canon 100D has been billed as the lightest DSLR available and tips the scales at only 407g. This compares to the Canon 600D which weighs 590g (in comparison the Canon 6D which tips the scales at 780g, the Canon 5D is a heavyweight at 920g) View a comparison of the Canon 6D vs 600D here

Unlike other DSLR cameras with video the 100D features phase detection for the video autofocus.

New Canon 700D DSLR Announced
New Canon 700D DSLR Announced

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Canon 6D L on screen and Unable to Change Aperture Setting in Manual Mode - L shows in Display

With the Canon 6D if you see L on the rear panel display screen and find that you are unable to change the Aperture setting in manual mode then don't panic! If you are able to adjust the aperture in Av and the aperture can change in P mode then the lens is almost certainly ok and the issue is a camera setting.

If you put the camera into M, manual mode and when you try to change the aperture the letter L shows in display then the LOCK button on the rear of the camera has become engaged and is preventing you from changing the aperture in Manual mode.

Flick the lock switch off and you will be able to change aperture as normal.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Canon 6D GPS Battery Drain Problems

Having had the Canon 6D for just over 2 months now I have been very happy with the camera and have now sold my Canon 5D Mark 2 as the Canon 6D is a more than competent replacement. The one aspect of the Canon 6D that is a problem is the GPS with firmware 1.1.2.

One of the reasons I bought the Canon 6D was to use the feature of being able to GPS tag my images. This works brilliantly on the 6D apart from one small problem, the GPS does not turn off when the camera is switched off so will run down the battery in a day or two.

Canon 6D GPS Battery Drain Problems
Canon 6D GPS Battery Drain Problems

Canon UK have replicated the problem and acknowledged that it is an issue. It has been reported to Canon HQ so I am hopefully that a firmware update will be forthcoming to resolve the GPS battery drain problems and allow use of the camera as intended.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Egypt Balloon Flight over Luxor

Balloons flying over Luxor in Egypt
Hearing the news this morning about the balloon crash in Luxor brought back the memories of our balloon flight over Luxor a couple of years ago. Our hearts go out to those involved in the accident as they are likely to be families like us enjoying their holiday and appreciating the incredible sights and history of Luxor.

Egypt Balloon Flight over Luxor
Egypt Balloon Flight over Luxor

Egypt Balloon flight at Luxor
Egypt Balloon Flight over Luxor

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Buying a Digital Rev New Used Camera

If you are considering buying from Digital Rev in Hong Kong you might be interested in this.

I've seen a report by a photographer that bought their Canon 5D3 from Digital Rev. Six months later they tried a tool called Stolen Camera Finder to check for images with their serial number online.

Some rather interesting information came up showing images taken by Digital Rev. Nothing remarkable about that until you see the camera being featured on their YouTube channel being used in the streets of Hong Kong.

And then sold on as a New Canon 5D Mark 3.

So is your new camera actually a Used Camera? Over to Rob to tell his story/....

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Playing Canon 6D Video on Computer

Playing Canon 6D Video on Computer

My video from Canon 6D won't play on my PC /How to Play Canon 6D Video on Computer/Smooth Playback from Canon 6D?

A common question about the MOV video files that are produced from the Canon 6D cameras is how to play them smoothly on a PC as they can be very choppy/jerky when played as the MOV format. The files are in the H264 compression format and to play Canon 6D video smoothly you need a very high end PC with fast graphics card and plenty of RAM. My PC has Quad core processor, 8Gb RAM and ATI Sapphire HD 4850 512Mb graphics and generally will play smoothly as long as other processes are not running

Even if you have a very high spec PC the playback can still be jerky and not smooth. The best way that I have found to play Canon 6D video smoothly is to use some software called Cineform Neoscene. This will convert the MOV files which are highly compressed into a more usable AVI format that your PC can play easily.

You can get a free trial of the Neoscene software from the Cineform website and to purchase is around £70. This may seem a lot of money but remember that with this software you can then edit the video on your PC using Windows Movie Maker without having to purchase any further software and also without buying a new high spec PC.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Canon 6D GPS Poor Battery Life - Canon 6D Battery Runs Down When GPS Switched On

While the Canon 6D battery life may be great for taking modelling photos, I've found that leaving the Canon 6D internal GPS on while the camera is switched off runs the battery dead within a few days. With GPS switched off while the camera is off the battery remains charged.

Unfortunately the only menu option on the 6D is to turn the internal GPS on or off, there is no choice to switch GPS off when the camera is switched off which would still allow GPS data to be added to photos taken. The option that you would expect to switch the GPS off when the camera is turned off is the "Use GPS to track camera". With this option off there seems no point in the GPS being permanently turned on.

You can tell if the GPS is switched on by looking at the top LCD plate of the Canon 6D when the camera is turned off. If the GPS is still active the screen will be showing GPS in the bottom corner. With GPS off this disapears.

Hopefully Canon will be able to resolve this with a firmware update so that you can retain GPS live only when the camera is on rather than GPS remaining live when the camera is off.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Canon 6D High ISO Test Review - Noise Performance Compared

Review of Canon 6D High ISO Performance - Comparison of ISO Noise

As the newest full frame DSLR camera in the Canon lineup the ISO noise performance of the Canon 6D should match or beat any of the previous Canon DSLR cameras. On paper it doesn't disappoint with a standard range of 100 to 25600 that can be extended to 102400. In comparison the Canon 5D that I am replacing has an ISO range of 100 to 1600 and can be extended to ISO 3200. That means the Canon 6D has a whole 5 (yes FIVE) stops more ISO choice than the Canon 5D Mark 1 and two more stops than the Canon 5D Mark 2 that went up to 25600 in extended settings.

Canon 6D High ISO Test Review - Noise Performance Compared
Canon 6D High ISO Test Review - Noise Performance Compared

These shots were taken to show the capability of the Canon 6D in low light and high ISO. I've deliberately only started the series at ISO 1600, below that noise is not an issue which is quite an incredible situation we have arrived at.

The images below are of the same scene but shot at an incredible ISO 51200 and 102400 - interestingly the EXIF shown on the image is 65535 which is the maximum setting! Amazing to think that with film the maximum general ISO would be 3200 and even that was very grainy.

Canon Digital Solutions Software Installer Fails - Universal Installer Error

I've found that trying to install the latest Canon Digital Solutions software fails on certain PCs and there seems to be no easy way to resolve it. This has happened using Canon software on Windows Vista 64 bit with the error Universal Installer Windows has stopped working.

Universal Installer Windows has stopped working
Canon Digital Solutions software error - Universal Installer Windows has stopped working

The solution that I have found to successfully run the software which includes my favourite image browser, Digital Photo Professional, is to install on another PC. Copy the folders from under C:\Program Files x86\Canon to a memory stick and replace them on your target machine.

As long as the software is already installed on the destination machine you can then run the Canon solutions software using the files that installed on the old PC.

NOTE: This worked for me but there is no guarantee that it will work for everyone. I would recommend that you back up any files that you replace so you can reverse the process if it doesn't work!"