engagement

The death of professional photography

I am sure some of you who read this will take exception to what I am about to say, and well, ok then.  But for most of you my opinion will make sense.

I have been a professional wedding and portrait photographer for over 14 years.  And in that time I have seen many trends in photography.  From the use of caution tape to models posing with pit bulls.  All of that, as cliche as it was, were trends with relation to style and concept.  The trend that I am seeing now is far more troublesome to the professional photographer.  And that is the “dumbing down” of the client.

When digital came into it’s own the debate over the death of film raged.  I always held the opinion that film use would diminish but not disappear.  The same way that photography diminished the painter.  Instead I took the stance that with digital and the internet would be a vessel that would contain millions upon millions of images.  On the surface this seems like a great idea but in reality it is very dangerous to us professionals out there.  The “how” is simple really.  The internet viewer is bombarded with these images and 99% of which have no regard to quality.  From the duck-face photo of the hot chick on Facebook to the ever so classy “look at my ab’s in the gym mirror” photo.  All of which are taken with cell phone cameras with zero regards to quality.  This list could go on and one but I will spare you this time.

Now, here is where it gets a little more complex.  With each crap photograph piling upon the other crap photographs, the viewer, aka, bride to be, actor needing head shots, family wanting portraits and so on, are lead to believe what they are seeing is what is now considered a “quality” photograph.  The are being brain washed into accepting low quality crap images are the norm and sadly this has become the new standard.  Try as we professionals might, the dumbing down of the average viewer will have a permanent impact on those of us who make a living with out cameras.

The flood of digital images have forced most professional to lower their pricing to try to stave off the influx of so called”wanna-be”, Cragislist photographers.  These  part-time, weekend warriors are the ones that will do a whole wedding for $500.00.  My issue is not the GWC (guy with camera) trying to make a buck.  My issue is with the client.  The bride who has been so condition into believing that what she is seeing on Pintrest and Facebook is the norm.  She has become oblivious to the fact that she should to expect MORE in the way of quality from her photographer rather being forced to settle for low quality crap images.

Most clients have devalued true professional photography.  They are willing to settle for low quality images for the sake of savings.  The real issue is that the clients are right!  They know they can hey a GWC for $500.00 and be ok with just “ok images.  The super majority of photographers are not professionals, they are simply GWC’s and don’t care about quality or customer service.  And this is the core issue.  The clients are being duped into accepting low quality because that is all they have seen.  And to be frank, I do not see this trend changing.  So what can we do?  Nothing really.  We can keep buying the newest $3,500.00 digital cameras and hope for the best!

Affordable Wedding Photography In Houston

If you are looking for high quality and yet affordable wedding and bridal photography then In Style Photography is your place!

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Relax! It’s Just A Photograph…

It’s OK, it’s just a photo shoot!

From time to time I come across a person or a couple who just cannot relax in front of the camera.  This is unusual by any means.  In fact few people are 100% comfortable  being the center of attention.  Not all of us are an attention seeking Kardashian!  OK with that said below are a few tips which might help you when you have to get your head shot, model beauty shot or engagement/bridal photo:

  1. Be yourself!  Too many time people feel the need to “act” instead of simply being who they are
  2. Move!  As in actually move.  I do not mean sprint like you’re in a race, but simple move and sway
  3. Take a deep breath.  I know this sounds so simple but it really does work.  Heck, take 2 deep breaths, couldn’t hurt
  4. If you have the choice shoot in a location that’s familiar to you.  Strangers and storage places add to you being uncomfortable
  5. Feel comfortable with the photographer.  Rather a good photographer will go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and safe

As you can see, nothing on this list is terrible complicated.  In fact it’s pretty darn basic.  But of none of this works, there’s alway wine!

To book my service please visit www.instylephotogrpahy.net or simply send a message using the contact form listed below.  Have a rest week form your jolly ole photographer Scott Evans with In Style Photography in Houston, TX

Is Your Photographer a Boring Downer?

Does the personality of your photographer really matter?

Of course I am going to say yes to this question, and I do have my reasons .  When selecting your photographer most have been told to look at three things: price, quality of work and experience.  While I cannot argue with any of those suggestions I would like to add a fourth to this list, personality!

If you stop to think about it for a moment you will realize that you will be spending the majority of your wedding day next to and interacting with your wedding photographer.  Same goes with your guests!  With this said, ask yourself this simple question; Do you want to be around a grumpy old, “I hate my job” kind of photographer?  Or do you want to be around one who is fun, funny, has the ability to relax you and not get stressed out and most of all, one who really enjoys their job?

I would add this component to your selection process when deciding on your photographer be it for your; wedding, family portrait or any photographic event.  So the next time you are talking to a prospective photographer try to ascertain whether her/she is relaxed, open and fun.  I am not talking hiring a stand up comic, but hire one that at least has a sense of humor!

If you have decided to have anything photographed the obviously it is important to you, so a full time professional photographer is vital!

For more information about Scott Evans and In Style Photography click here

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Brides PLEASE get professional makeup!

Why do brides need professional a makeup artist?

 

I am not a professional makeup artist.  I am, however, a professional wedding photographer based in Houston, TX.  Why does talking about Houston, TX matter and what does this have to do with makeup?  Simple, humidity!

If you know anything about an outdoor wedding in the summer in Houston you know that one thing is guaranteed to happen and that is you will sweat!  When you sweat you get shiny and when you get shiny you want me to photoshop the “shiny” out of the photos, which is 100% impossible to do.  So how to you combat this?  Well, the answer is easy and not nearly as expensive as you think.  Hire a professional makeup artist.

When it comes to wedding photography I view everything through the eyes of a wedding photographer.  Brilliant, right! In my 14+ years of experience one thing I have learned is the value of professionally applied makeup on your wedding day.  If you hire a true professional such as Tara Elle Artistry you will see that not only is this affordable it will make all the difference in the overall quality of your photos.  Yes, make up and quality photography go hand in hand.  Below are a list of reason why:

  • 1) No shine!  Makeup take the shine off your face.  Less shine better photos!
  • 2) Even skin tones.  The more even your skin tones the smoother and more angelic your skin will look
  • 3) Pros use high end makeup specific for hot, humid situations
  • 4) Makeup that is applied for photography will handle my flash better
  • 5) It’s your wedding day.  Don’t you want to simply look the best you can?

I understand that it seems that everyone has their hand out asking you to pay them.  I get it, I really do.  But I am one who truly believes in spending the bulk of the money in YOU and NOT your guests.  I say buy professional photography, video, makeup and hair and worry less about what your guests will eat.

To learn more about me and my photography visit: www.instylephotography.net 

 

Best wishes!

Scott Evans

In Style Photography

Houston, TX professional wedding and portrait photographer

Houston's Affordable Professional

Houston’s Affordable Professional

Houston brides should know….

How to choose your wedding photographer:

  • Do not shop by price alone
  • Ask if they are full time
  • Can they provide references
  • Are they willing to meet with you prior to booking
  • Do they put what they promise in writing
  • Are they nice
  • Ask if they took the images that are on their website

These are some of the basics when choosing a wedding or portrait photographer. Below are my opinions on what I feel is important when choosing your photographer:

1) If you are shopping price alone you are doing yourself a disservice.  Think about this for a second.  Your wedding photos will outlast everything else associated with your wedding.  They will outlast your cake, food, D.J, flowers and even your dress.  So why in the world would you go “cheap” on the one thing that will outlast all others?

2) A fill time photographer usually means they are serious, committed to quality and customer service driven.  Part time photographers will say they are “professional” when in fact they are not.  They are low cost for a reason and that reason is because they are using your wedding for their practice!

3) Asking for references is something I conflicted about.  What I mean is, no one will ever give the name of someone who is going to say bad things about their photography.  So what can you do to get information to help you make the right decision?  The internet!  Google them, Yelp them.  It is up to you to do your research before writing your deposit check.  But still ask and if they refuse to give references do NOT hire them!

4) If the photographer is not willing to meet with you prior to booking this is a HUGE red flag.  I would go so far as to say immediately remove them from your list.  If they are not willing to meet prior to booking then they may not be willing to actually show up for your wedding!

5) A true, honest, legitimate and professional photographer will always put what you agree to for services in writing.  I provide a contract to all my clients.  If you do NOT get it in writing then you have no legal recourse if things go bad! Simply put; no contract, no sale!

6) Are they nice?  Well, they sure should be right!  The photographer will have more interaction with you and your guests than any other vendor you hire.  If your photographer is grumpy and lacks personality with you on the phone image how they will be at your wedding.  Trust your gut and hire someone who is nice.  In the long run “nice” really does matter.

7) Why ask if they took all the images on their website? Because beginners, part-timers or like I like to call them, “weekend warriors” use stolen or stock images to sell their services.  Some may have had an assistant shoot the images and are passing them off as their own.  When you hire a photographer make sure they are the ones who will actually be taking the photos!

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing your photographer but the one thing that gets ignored the most during this process is your gut feeling.  If you trust what your gut is telling your, both good and bad, and you learn to trust it then you should be ok in the end.

If you have any questions please vista me on-line at: http://www.instylephotography.net


 

Fuji 55-210 3.5-4.8 OIS is a BIG SURPRISE!

I have been doing some Fuji bashing lately, well deserved bashing might I add, but I thought I would take a break from flogging the Fuji horse and talk about something positive with the Fuji X system.  I am talking about the Fuji 55-210 3.5-4.8 R LM OIS!

We all know I have a huge issue with the claims that the new Fuji XT1 is a DSLR killer, which it is not by they way, but I digress.  I was in Houston Camera Exchange about 3 weeks ago and was looking to buy something.  Didn’t really care what, just knew I wanted to buy something, anything!  After looking around I spotted a few used Fuji X lenses and I asked mi amigo Craig what he had on the shelf and low and behold a used 55-210!  I asked how much.  He gave a price.  I scoffed and said, here is what I can pay today, and he said OK!  My mission was accomplished.  Plus I didn’t think I’d get hurt too bad at an out the door price of $350.00.

With my Canon 70-200 2.8 IS II long since sold I was concerned that when shooting weddings I did not have a lens that would be long enough to accommodate the Catholics.  We fellow wedding photographer know how the Catholics love to put us photographers way in the back, turn out all the lights and say NO FLASH!  With the lens costing a just $350.00, I figured it was a low enough price to take a calculated risk. An added bonus is the crop factor is 1.5x which make this a seriously long reaching lens.  I must say I did feel more comfortable and confident knowing I had this lens in my bag.  And now I could shoot a wedding without ticking off the Catholics LOL!  So now my thoughts:

I was on my way to shoot a wedding at the end of March with my newest lens (yes latest firmware installed) and had my XT1, X Pro-1, XE-2 and X100s in my bag.  The XE-2 held the 18-55 and the XT1 was adorned with my new’/used 55-210.  Right away I noticed how smooth everything was on the lens.  The autofocus was pert-near silent and actually pretty responsive.  Now keep in mind, I was shooting in the prefect sun-setting, beautiful light.  The zoom function was buttery smooth and the feel of this lens on the XT1 was substantial, in a good way.  Everything felt solid and well balanced.  Oh yea, you must use the new grip for the XT1 to get that balanced feel.  All in all the lens felt good, no, felt great in my hands.  But what about performance?

I must admit I had little to no expectations as to the image quality of this lens, after all it’s a “kit lens” and what pro would ever dream of using one of those things?  As I snapped the first few test shots before the bride strolled down the isle I noticed the images on the back of the camera where sharp, I mean fixed lens sharp.  The colors and contrast were what you would expect from the Fuji XF lenses.  To be honest I was stunned with what I was seeing and crossed my fingers that the quality would be the same on my iMac.  And so far so good!


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Fuji XT1 with 55-210 3.5-4.8 OIS.


 

As you can see from the .jpeg images above (Lightroom did not have a RAW plugin yet) not bad.  Not bad for a “kit lens and most of all not bad for $350.00!  I will freely admit that I was spoiled by the Fuji 35mm 1.4 on my X Pro-1. That combo just may be the greatest lens/camera combo to date.  Take that Leica lovers!  All kidding aside, the image quality was not only more than acceptable it was down right fantastic!  Will I use this lens more?  I already have. in fact I use it at every event I shoot now.  Understanding this lens is slow and therefore you will not do as well in low light, even with a superb OIS lens stabilization, but for what it is and for the price point, even new, this lens is a steal!  If you are trying to decide what to add to your bad I implore you to take a long and lustful look at the surprise Fuji 55-210 3.5-4.8 OIS.  You will be glad you did!

Glaring Fuji XT1 failures!

FUJI XT1/XE2 YOU ARE A FAILURE FOR THE WORKING PRO!

As I continue to use the Fuji XT1 in the real world of professional event photography, the more I see Fuji’s failures. I am not calling them shortcomings because they are not things I can see Fuji fixing with a firmware update.  Here is a breakdown of where the Fuji XT1 fails:

LOW LIGHT:  No I am not talking about low light sensor performance.  I am talking about low light AF, or the lack thereof.  I have shot 2 weddings since I purchased my XT1 mid March, and I can say without hesitation I miss the optical VF (OVF).  Where the X100s and X Pro-1 excel in this area the XT1 fails.  One example was the wedding I shot on the 30th of March.  During the daylight part of the wedding, where the light was sunset light, the Fuji XT1, XE2 and X100s performed like magic!  It is when I got into the reception room that the failures of the XT1 and XE2 became apparent.

In the dimly lit reception area it was impossible to actually “see” the subject through the EVF of the XT1 or XE2.  Meaning It was so dark (looking through the EVF) that I could not see where to focus.  I couldn’t see anything and evidently the AF on the XT1 was just as blind.  I tried the XE2 and it seemed to fair a tiny bit better.  I ended up having to switch to the X Pro-1 and the OVF to know where to place the AF focus point.  Even the slow AF on the X Pro-1 was blazing fast compared to the XT1 and it’s poor quality EVF.  I cannot begin to explain how disappointed I was in the low light performance of this camera.  This is something the “Fuji Guys” do not tell you.  In decent light this camera’s AF is good to very good but IF YOU NEED TO ACTUALLY SEE WHAT YOU ARE FOCUSING ON then do NOT use this camera in dimly lit rooms.  Epic failure Fuji!

FLASH….AGAIN:  I will continue to beat this dead horse until Fuji fixes this glaring and massive failure in their X system cameras!  The fact that you cannot integrate any sort of off camera TTL flash capability is becoming frustrating to the point where I am actually getting angry.  I am actually getting angry as I type this section.  You can tell because I am pounding the crap out of the keys on my keyboard!

Fuji has the brain-power to address this issue.  I know they can because they did so with the S5 Pro series of cameras.  I am forced to use Pocket Wizards with my Quantum Qflash T5D-R on light stands.  But if you know anything about shooting weddings you know you are constantly on the move and having the ability to put a flash on a bracket and actually have it work would be a Godsend!  Fuji fails again and again and again in this area.

The irony is that the tiny little fill flash that comes with the XT1 works great….AS A FILL FLASH!   Put the Fuji EF-X20 on the XT1 and it fails!  The EF-X20 works great on the X Pro-1 but fails on the XT1, go figure!  The EF-42 works some of the time but every 3rd shot the flash does not fire, and yes it was charged and ready to go.  And to piss me off even more you cannot take the EF-42 off camera nor hook up an external battery to increase recycle times.  I regret selling all my Canon gear to move to Fuji.  There I said it!

CONCLUSION:  Yes, as of this posting I officially regret selling my Canon gear and frankly I do not see true working pros moving over to Fuji.  I know the XT1 was never meant to be a DSLR killer, but come on Fuji you could have at least wounded them!  Take what I write with a grain of salt.  I am coming from the point of view of a full time, working, professional photographer who’s living depends on my ability to capture those rare and fleeting moment at weddings, and to be blunt Fuji is costing me.  My opinion may change but not until Fuji fixes the glaring failures I have listed.  Ok I am off to B&H to order a Nikon D800 with 24-70 and a couple of flashes.  Thanks Fuji!

Fuji XT1, my first impressions!

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When you are stricken with the incurable disease that is photography you find yourself on a mission to own the perfect camera.  I have owned everything from Leica M and R’s to Hasselblad 50o CM and everything in-between.  But with digital the world is upside down and sideways and it seems as if you are standing on the shifting sands of rapid changing technology, which can be both good and frustrating.  Then sort of out of nowhere (remember their S5 Pro) comes Fuji and their cute little “X” systems cameras, (as if my lust for the holy grail of cameras needed to have the their embers stoked) first the X100 and now the newest creation the XT1!

My first impressions are admittedly biased, but they are honest nonetheless.  I will give you my straight up view of the Fuji XT1 as I see it:

BUILD QUALITY:  As soon as I unboxed the camera and picked it up the differences were immediate and pronounced.  The hand feel is solid, as in rock solid.  The texture is reassuring without being obnoxious.  The buttons move with in a solid, reassuring way.  The dials are just firm enough to make accidental adjustments a thing of the past.  Am I right you XE-1 users!  Can I get a Amen!  But one awesome feature are the dials themselves and what they control and how brilliantly laid out they are.  No more riffling through confusing menus to change the ISO or shutter speed.  Nikon DF tried the retro dial thing but failed in their execution, whereas Fuji XT1 succeeded.  For me I will need the grip ASAP because the camera is still small.  I would dare to say X Pro-1 size.  And for adding a second battery to insure longer shooting before battery changes.  Speaking of the battery.  It is the same as the X Pro1 and the XE-2, which is great.  In addition the battery has it’s own compartment and so does the SD card slot, FINALLY!

The dial, doors, hatches, portholes and every other orifice is weather sealed.  Not water proof but sealed enough so the next time I am shooting a wedding at the Texas Renaissance Festival and it decides to rain as if we are in the Costa Rican rain forest I will not fret as much.  In order to truly take advantage of this weather sealing you need the lenses to be the same, which as of now, are nonexistent.  With that said great job on the build quality.  The first real, “DSLR like” body from Fuji in the X mount system and hope this is a trend from Fuji.

VIEWFINDER:  This is going to be a super short review of the viewfinder.  Think IMAX when looking through this viewfinder.  It is brilliant, responsive and most of all 100% coverage and color accurate.  I crave a WYSIWYG viewfinder, hence my love for the Canon 1V HS.  Told ya it would be short 🙂

IMAGE QUALITY:  Boy, am I spoiled!  I have the X Pro-1, X100s, XE-2 and now the XT1 and to be honest they all produce the same stunning, detail rich, sharp images day in and day out.  Fuji XT1 did not deviate far from the sensor and processor that is in the XE-2, and nor should they.  The control you have over the images in camera is perfect and the JPEG’s are as good of a JPEG can get out of camera.  White balance is very good and of course the B&W are, as usual, simply stunning.  Never mind the crazy good, and I mean CRAZY good low light performance.  Fuji done got this one right!

AUTO FOCUS:  The thorn in the side of Fuji X system has been their auto focus.  The X Pro-‘s auto focus on day one was miserable.  Now, it’s not bad at all.  I am a wedding photographer I must have fast, accurate auto focus and so far I can say the XT1 delivers.  The XE-2 is pretty darn good but I needed better than good.  I needed really good and a really good focus tracking system.  Hey, the Canon 5D II aint no track star in the auto focusing department.  I missed as many or more shots with the crappy 5DII AF system than I care to admit.  But, that’s all there was in Canon until the 5DIII, which I REFUSE to pay $3499.00 for!  Arrrgg, the arrogance of Canon!!!!

Anyway, back on topic.  The XT1 auto focus is snappy and seems to be spot on accurate.  I need to do more low light testing to see how it truly performs.  If the single shot and focus tracking performs the way I think it will I might be able to finally dump all my Canon gear for good!   I do wish Fuji would add two thing to their focusing, one is multiple point focusing.  Not like a zillion focusing points but 9 to 12 would be perfect.  I would love to see Fuji change the color of their focus peak highlights to red like in the Sony A7 and A7r.

FLASH:  This is the one glaring failure in the Fuji X system.  I say failure because I use flash and for me the ability to take flash off camera is paramount and down right mandatory.  Yea, yea, yea I know you can use Pocket Wizards with strobes.  What I mean is the ability to take my EFX-20 and EFX-42 off camera and retain TTL functionality.  Or at the very least be able to adjust flash output off camera wirelessly.  EVERYONE else does this why can’t Fuji?  This is a big deal to me because I (and many other pro’s) invested heavily into the Quantum Qlash system.  When I use my Canon there is no problem.  But with the Fuji, this is a big problem.  If Fuji is going to delve into the pro market I feel they need to address this glaring weakness.  The lack of ability to use any Fuji flash off camera is very limiting and almost debilitating.  The nice surprise is the little flash that comes with the camera.  It is rather nice and is powered off your camera batter so no need to carry extra batteries for the flash!

VIDEO:  I do not do video and neither should you 😉

In conclusion, the Fuji XT1 is exactly what I was hoping it would be, well almost.  The lack of off camera flash issue is the cactus in my Speedo.  However I am willing to deal with that glaring deficiency to get a light weight, fast, well built and beautiful image producing work of art.  The Fuji XT1 is the only camera where I declared prior to its release that regardless of my situation I am buying one the day they are available in Houston.  If you are debating on if it is worth it $1,299.99 price tag.  In one word; oh hell yes!  This is the Fuji that has been needed for a while.  The XT1 is a real working photographers camera.  Yes, it will piss off the hipsters because it’s not “ironic” and “retro” but who cares.  Plus pissing of hipsters is FUN!

Thanks to Craig at Houston Camera Exchange looking out for me and putting one aside until I could get their to pick it up, big man hug to you Craig!

Fuji X Series Cameras, I’m In Love!

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I am a huge fan of the Fuji X series cameras!  Ok that is the end of my blog post!  Kidding, of course.  Let me explain why it is I love these cameras.

I dipped my toe into the Fuji X pool a little over a year ago when I bought my X-Pro 1.  I was just like everyone else who used this camera, I couldn’t wait for the next firmware update!  The X-Pro was beautiful and maddening at the same time.  It missed focus a ton, was slow and unsure of itself.  But as time went on and as Fuji listened to their customers, through diligent firmware upgrades that camera started to soar!  Now I can gladly say that not only do I love my X-Pro1 but I also love my X100s and X-E2!

I love that these cameras excel where a camera should, image quality.  Fuji did it right with their sensor and mojo thingy that is inside the wonderful little jewels of image producing perfectness!  The colors are bold, different but no so different that they are not believable.  As close to film as I have come with digital.  The auto focusing is much better on the newer versions but at the end of the day I never thought they that bad after the first few firmware upgrades.  Are they DSLR fast, no, but then again they are not supposed to be a DSLR.  They work exactly the way they should.  As a tool to help you achieve the best possible image quality, period!

If you are a B&W lover, like I am, then you will not find anything out there that does B&W better than the Fuji X system cameras.  I know this may sound like a bold, dare I say dangerous statement to make but I will stand buy it until I am proven wrong.  I am not sure what it is about the B&W’s that come out of these cameras but when I pair a B&W image from my X-Pro with my Epson 7880 which is loaded with Peizography ink sets, well it is as close to wet darkroom as you can get.  I print on Canson fiber based baryta papers and I will say the prints are stunning.  And the Fuji’s have a lot to do with that.  The detail, sharpness and dynamic range in RAW is exceptional and most of all I can shoot RAW and keep all of the lush goodness the Fuji files give me.

Let’s be real here.  The Fuji’s are not a magic box that will make you a better photographer, but I will say, when I hold one of these wonderfully built instruments I do “feel” like a photographer.  it is a hard thing to explain and I freely admit it makes no sense but it is a feeling that is real and genuine.

What do I want to see next from Fuji?  Full frame!  I shudder at what can be accomplished as a photographer if Fuji put out a $2,500.00 18-24mp, full frame work of art!  I will be the first in line to buy one!