Upgrading gear: from Mark II to the 5D Mark III

Canon is taking preorders for the new EOS camera, the long awaited Mark III…
and I am in line.

I’ve been waiting for the Mark III for nearly a year and will say the specs and price leave me a bit disappointed. So why upgrade when I love my Mark II?

Being a videographer and photographer there are a few cameras that have come out in the past 6 months. The 5D Mark III, 1Dx and the Scarlet were all on my radar. Convinced I was going to either purchase the Scarlet or the Mark III put me in a mental position for a large gear purchase.

The Scarlet would have been a massive upgrade over the EX1, but did not make the cut due to price point and no hot-swapping of cards. **I’ve worked with a Scarlet and it is every bit amazing as dreamed!

There are great specs on the Mark III but fell short on a few things I really wanted to see. No RAW video (the main attraction on the Scarlet). It has the same slow motion capability. No GPS built in.

The things I like are the larger LCD, anyone that has upgraded cameras that were not the same size knows how valuable a quarter of an inch is. Dual card slots are very attractive to me. 61-points of focus is great (note that is an increase of 52!!). Multiple exposures improved but I can’t find how many shots… I’m assuming it’s more than 3, hoping for 7! Silent shutter mode will be nice for weddings! Increased video run time from 12 minutes to 30 minutes, this is actually a pretty big deal to me.  And thank you for keeping the same batteries!

I approach upgrades VERY business minded. From the measurable specs (i.e. dual card slots, 3.2” screen,…) they are worth maybe $500 to me. Having a new camera body, for ME, is another $500ish. The cost is $3,500, minus the $1,000 in upgrades leaves me with a delta of $2,500 to justify. I will sell my 5D Mark II but there will still be a significant price gap to justify for my ‘business mind’!

Without experience with the DIGIC5+, new CMOS, and iFCL Metering I am making this decision… hopefully those three things blow me away!

So, why upgrade? Because I “want” to. Occasionally I need to check my ‘business’ mind at the door and open the “creative” hobbyist and that guy, passed on the 1Dx, passed on the Scarlet, and loves new gear and photography.

Now booking wedding dates! *smile*

The key to becoming a great photographer

Photography has been evolving at blinding speed since digital started winning the ‘digital vs film’ battle. DSLRs are in everyone’s hands these days and the inexpensive chips replacing film lets amateurs (and pros) fire hundreds of shots without giving it a second thought. In those hundreds, or even thousands of shots, the photographer might find a few gems and realize it’s time to take this craft from the hobby/amateur stage to the weekend warrior/semi-pro level.

These terms hobbyist/amateur/weekend warrior/semi-pro… are not degrading. Heck, the word “amateur” in French means “lover of” so in that sense I am a huge amateur of photography. Being a ‘professional’ can be anything from someone paying a dollar for a portrait, to knowing how to appropriately react when a lens falls and shatters during an expensive wedding shoot.

What all photographers need to realize is that you will never, ever, ever, ever know everything there is to know about photography. On the same note, it is my hope that everyone who takes photography seriously, WANTS to know everything there is to know about photography.

What is the key to becoming a great photographer? It is the love and desire to develop your skills at every stage of your photography life. At that moment, when you take off the lens cap for the very first time, I promise the desire will certainly be there… but keep that passion to learn intact and you will be doing photography for a long time.

Wedding Photography post work

This wonderful couple had their wedding day on July 29, 2011 at the James P. Davis Hall (Wyandotte County Lake) in Kansas City, KS. Jake and Bonnie planned for the perfect amount of time for Bride and Groom photos. This is where I love landing that ‘signature’ shot! Certainly found my signature shot and went to work in post-production.

The all-important capture! You want to try and get as much of the photo right at the time you click the shutter. Full disclosure, I am a pixel punishing Photoshop ninja. This day was a very bright (and extremely hot) day. In order to try and balance the exposure I fired an off camera flash to avoid creating a silhouette. The pose we were going for mixed with the temperature meant I wanted to spend as few minutes here as possible! Some shots had better exposure but this was my favorite out of the camera. I’m not entirely happy with the photo out of the camera… I began the pixel pushing! Thank you RAW!

Nick Schale Photographer - Wedding photo post work

First step was to bring out the sky, it’s over exposed. This was done by creating a LARGE adjustment brush, and getting the sky how I wanted it, popped the saturation a bit and erased over the mask over the couple. Then I added a few gradient maps to pull focus even more towards the couple. Created another adjustment brush for the dress, removing the blue overcast which kept it a more pure white! The tux being black needed a slight adjustment, trying to restore some detail in the dark shadows. I then put a lowering exposure gradient on the grass. Then I did some spot healing as the aperture was pretty small, so there were some dust spots, small, but they bug me. The result without firing up Photoshop below.

Nick Schale Photographer Kansas City - After CameraRAW processing

This photo could stand as is. In fact I did put it out for a few photographer’s critiques. As anticipated the rock in the foreground dominated the feedback. While I love putting something in the foreground in landscapes, this was about the couple and ultimately was distracting. So, I removed the rock and actually cropped down out a bit of the grass. This crop changed the layout too much for me, moving the couple too far to the left. I then created a small sliver to add to the left of the photograph, putting the couple at a ‘rule-of-thirds’ intersection.

Nick Schale Photography - Kansas City - Step Three, Photoshop

The final image (click it for larger resolution)

Nick Schale Kansas City Wedding Photographer Demo

See a few other photos from this wedding on my Facebook page: Link

Jodi and William Wedding (reception) Photography

I was honored to be the wedding photographer for Jodi and William’s wedding reception held in Northeastern Missouri. Jodi had a great idea: re-creating a photo of her grandparents had taken on a bridge. We unfortunately didn’t have the exact bridge but William found a very suitable match while scouting the area. Since the couple is from San Francisco, they took a picture of the picture and emailed it to me; I instantly thought this was going to be a pleasure.

On the day of the event we made the bridge photo a priority… with a copy of the original photo on my phone held up, we repositioned Jodi and William, a little here and a little there. “Jodi don’t smile” Click.Wedding Photograph re-created!

Both the newlywed couple and I were very pleased with the final product! Oh, and we also took some photos for their grandchildren to recreate. Enjoy!

Wedding Photograph Samples from Jodi and William's reception!