A photographer’s equipment, it’s important.

When you go in search of a Reno photographer they need to have good equipment. They need to know what they are doing and they need to have the right stuff to get the job done. I know that I’ve talked about education in photography and taking classes or shadowing a working professional but I want to touch a bit on the equipment they use.

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It’s difficult as a consumer of photography to find a legitimate photographer and it’s even harder to know if the equipment they are using is decent. I want to try and give you a few tips on what I’m talking about. Even if you have to ask your photographer out right what they use then it may save you from an inexperienced photographer. At very least, a working photographer needs to have two cameras. A smart professional will have a backup camera in case the first suffers equipment failure. The same goes for their flash. I personally have three, but I think a professional should have at least two for the same reason. Speaking of flashes, a good working professional will have off camera flash abilities. It’s not necessary by any means. There are many great images that come from natural light and even on camera flash, but a working professional should still have that ability. The ability to move lights around and position them is an incredible advantage. Additionally it makes the photos look much more professional. Now on to lenses.  Lenses are the most important part. It’s almost never about the camera. A decent photographer should have much more than just the one or two kit lenses that come with a camera. If the photographer you are thinking of choosing doesn’t have something like three, four,  five, or more lenses then that might be a bit of a red flag.

This is just for those looking for a working photographer. It’s for those who are looking for a photographer that has gone beyond a hobby and into something more serious. If you are looking for a photographer it may be a good idea to just ask what kind of equipment they are using. Trust me this isn’t an insult and most often than not you will get an earful. Which is good thing. We are all kind of nerds that way and we love to talk about our craft. Next time you are looking for a photographer ask them about the equipment.


Editorial Sports Photography

Sports photography is a crazy thing. It’s fast, it’s hectic, and unpredictable. You have no control over the scene and mostly no control over the lighting. There are ways to light a stadium but for most of us that’s just not a luxury we enjoy. It really is wild though. You have to understand the game and look for peak action.

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Covering sports is important. Why? Because people friggin love sports. Sports are everywhere and people love pictures of sports. If your business has a publication or your business is a publication then you should have photos and if you can you should try and cover some sports. Local sports are the best. Your audience will engage more with local sports. Just think of Kaepernick and what that did to Reno and sports coverage. Though media outlets typically cover sports and do the photo galleries for sports but I think businesses have some opportunity there. Many businesses create a new letter where they discuss happenings in the industry or in their actual business. Of course those business events need professional photography of their proprietary events but I think they could branch out a little. With some variety that could include local sports I think businesses could expand their audience.

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As far as sports go you have definitely go to watch for peak action and moments. Additionally a good Reno sports photographer will look for good photos of the coach and of the fans. Fan and coach images can always add to a sports set. Looking for key action and player reactions is another great place to look for photos. In the end a good sports photographer should have action, emotion, and moments. I shot these images when I was doing my undergrad for UNR. The Nevada Sagebrush needed a little help so I gladly obliged. It turned out to be one of my best sports sets.

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I love shooting sports, mostly because I am a terrible athlete. I get to engage with the action and the fun in a unique way. Showing clients fun images and players the images of themselves is very fun and quite rewarding. Check out the Nevada Sagebrush, it’s a smaller publication but sometimes they have some good work and usually birth those who will be running the Reno Gazette and the Sparks Tribune.

Harleys, Ta Tas, and Photography

A little while back I blogged about one of my favorite yearly events. The Ride for the Ta Ta’s. This is a yearly motorcycle ride to help benefit women suffering from cancer. They cover medical costs and will even provide monetary assistance for things like rent and groceries. This shoot was a group portrait of their board members.

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The Ta Tas organization does an excellent job with their web presence and works hard to keep that presence up to date. Groups and organizations such as this often go through change and it’s important to keep their audience informed on that. Current photos of this board together show that they are actively working on the events they organize and that they are staying current with who is on the board. There is nothing worse than going to a company or organization website and seeing dated photographs of a board that may not even be current. For just a little investment the Ta Tas organization gets a fun photo that’s quick and looks great for their website. The best part is that they don’t have to deal with any of it. They hired me, I showed up, got what I needed and will deliver a CD at the end of the weekend.

Not only will they avoid the hassle of editing these photos or taking them, but they also got a much better image than someone using an iPhone for example. With this image there were several unique challenges to deal with. For starters we shot this in one of the member’s garage. Just like any garage there is a lot of clutter. By clutter I don’t mean in the conventional sense, the guy is immaculate. The clutter was in the photos, there were doors, and posters, and pictures, and water heaters, and home gyms, and mirrors, and toolboxes that all had to be removed from the photo somehow. I wanted as little “clutter” in the photo as to keep our focus on the subjects. They were also adamant about keeping the Harley logo and the two bikes in the image. Basically a tough deal but I think we got a nice image. I hopped on a ladder so everyone would be looking up which does two things. It helps eliminate double chins and also helps me see everyone’s face. I used a wide angle to get the Harley logo in the image while also getting everyone in the picture. I set up a couple lights and in literally five minutes we had plenty of good photos. For images like this it is extremely important to work fast.

This photo turned out pretty good in my opinion and I think they will be happy with it. This shoot definitely upped my anticipation for the events! Like I said in the earlier blog I will be shooting both the Mom’s on the Run and the Ride for the Ta Ta’s  events happening in May so look for the photos or better yet, participate and help save someone’s life!

Reno Aces Opening Night


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A couple weeks ago the Reno Aces had their season opening game which I was lucky enough to take pictures at. David Calvert, the staff photographer for the Aces, had asked me if I would be a part of the opening night. The objective: fan photos!

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Walking around taking fan pictures was really fun. I got to be at the opening night, I got to see a bunch of my friends, and I got to take photos. Everyone at the game was in a great mood and the weather was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better night. After four or so hours I had over four hundred pictures of happy folks at the Aces opener. The best part, I didn’t have to process them. With these kinds of photos there really isn’t a whole lot you need to do to make the pictures nice. In most cases as long as they are well exposed and sharp, you can upload the images or print them and they are good to go. This night was just a trial run though so you won’t see me there for every game, at least not yet. David put together the proposal and asked the Aces if they wanted a Reno fan photographer there for every game. I still haven’t heard what the verdict was but I’m confident that they will work something out. For now, you’ll see David there for every game and if you do say hi to him for me.

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The next night was the fun night for me. Well more fun I would say. David got me a pass to get down on the field to do some shooting. I just bought a new 70-200 lens so I was itching to try it out. I got some decent pictures in my opinion. For baseball it would be better to have even longer lenses but since I won’t shoot too much sports it isn’t necessary… yet. I like being down on the field better. Though you don’t have a lot of room to look for places to shoot you still get more interesting images down on the field. For now go check out the Fan Photos Gallery on David’s website and check it out. Who knows, maybe I got a photos of you.

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Large Group Portraits

Large group portraits are a different kind of beast. They can be a true challenge but if you go about them the right way you can make a nice image. The thing with large groups is getting everyone in the picture to look at the camera and smile with their eyes open all at the same time. The next challenge is not hiding anyone in the background.

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When people come to me and they want a large group portrait there are a couple things I do. I first tell the group that if we can get everyone to look at the camera and smile with their eyes open, that in itself is a huge win. With group portraits you really just have to try and not hide anyone behind someone else. When I go after these portraits I do my best to find somewhere for a line of folks to sit and a line of folks to stand. If I can I will even put a row of people down on the ground for another layer so to speak. What this does is get everyone’s face in good clear view. This picture I did for the UNR Writing Center is a perfect example For this photo I simply asked everyone in the group to self-designate whether they where a tall person, a medium person, or a short person. This actually worked out pretty well and I only had to re-direct a few of the individuals. I staged the tallest people standing in the back behind the bench, the mediums sitting on the bench, and the shorts on the ground. No one seemed to mind sitting on the ground.

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With this image we chose to work with the quad, mostly because the quad is awesome. It is a true mark of our University and will immediately give recognition to this group. One of the most challenging parts about this image was shooting in the middle of the day. Usually right in mid day the sun is harsh and unflattering. For this picture I put my group with their back against the sun and used two flashes as off-camera fill flash. This method is great for making daylight images. One huge advantage of doing pictures this way is that my subjects weren’t squinting with the brightness in their eyes. After a few set ups and some light tests I told the group we were ready and told them how it was going to go. I tell everyone to close their eyes then when I say one, two, and three! They open and smile. This usually gets everyone looking and smiling at the same time.


In the end I think we got a nice image that will definitely serve their purpose. Everyone is looking, smiling, and no one is hiding. Thanks for reading and be sure to follow me on Twitter!

The Wedding Part IV

So we have arrived at the last wedding blog, at least for now. There will be future ones I promise but this is the last installment for this mini section. This portion of the wedding blog is all about the first dances, the speeches, and the reception party. In my opinion this is my second favorite part of a wedding to shoot. I think the ceremony is still my favorite, but not by much.

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What is so fun about the reception is that everyone is getting ready to party. They are celebrating and that’s when you find the happiest moments I think. Everyone kind if gets to relax. The big events are over and the bride finally gets to just relax. There is however, a little pressure on the photographer to catch those once-in-a-lifetime moments. Those moments such as the first dance as husband and wife and the daughter father dance. Other moments include the cake cutting and of course the cake smashing in each-other’s face. There is also the bouquet and the garter toss which makes for great pictures. For the reception I look for those kinds of moments and also unexpected moments. Moments like a big laugh or, for example, when the groom grabs his wife’s butt.

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As a bride or groom the important thing to do is relax and have fun during this part of your wedding. Your photographer, if they have a clue what’s going on, will know when all of these events are supposed to take place and will be there with their finger on the shutter. As long as you can enjoy yourself, then your photographer will do the rest. This particular wedding was shot in Lamoille outside of Spring Creek, Nevada. It was a gorgeous venue and the light was superb. After the ceremony and the formals, the couple danced and started drinking. This was not a dry wedding by any means! I ended up staying and shooting till about ten at night when guests started leaving and the party started to end.

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Weddings are important. They are important to the families and especially the bride. My message to the groom is always this. I know it’s a pain in the ass, but you have to do it. Why? Because it makes the two most important women in your life happy. Your wife and your mother. My message to the bride is relax. Your Reno photographer will do fine, if you choose the right one anyway. The pictures are going to be beautiful and you will look equally as beautiful so just sit back and have a good time. As long as you do some research and find the guy or gal that you trust, your pictures are going to turn out great. With that I am going to wrap up the wedding blog and move into other topics. Topics like large group portraits and additional business coverage. For now be sure and visit my website for more fun photos!

The Wedding Part III

In the last blog I talked a bit about how to prepare for the ceremony photos and what images you should expect. In this blog I want to go into the formals. Those are the potentially cheesy group shots of grandma and the whole lot together with you and your sweetheart in the middle. I say potentially cheesy because they don’t have to be, and they shouldn’t be.

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One of the first things to do when preparing for the formals is to tell your wedding planner that you plan on having them done and when you want to do them. You want the photographer, bride, family, and planner all to know when and where the formals are to go down. It’s best to talk to your photographer about a few possible spaces that you have in mind as well. Make sure to have a few in mind, with changing lighting and weather it’s good to have some indoor and outdoor spaces. Usually formals are taken after the ceremony and before the reception. It’s good to get these images before everyone dips too heavily into the champagne for obvious reasons. Once you get started the photographer should basically take control. They usually will pose the groups and set up the lighting accordingly. I typically set the bride and groom in the middle as they are the focal point. I will also sometimes bring the groom or bride forward to let the groom’s men/bride’s maids fall just out of focus to show more emphasis on the star/s of the show.

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Sometimes these pictures look kind of staged and not very natural. Now depending on what you are specifically looking for this is fine. In my opinion, I like them a little more fun. I know it’s becoming cliché very fast but having the bride’s maids hold the groom or vice versus is always a fun way to make people truly smile. It also helps if you get can a Reno photographer that makes you laugh. When I’m shooting weddings I try and get all the regular formals done then I like to get some fun moments. Other than that the formals are pretty straight forward. You want to plan for a time when everyone is available for photos, have a couple spaces in mind, and make sure no one starts partying too early.

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In the final edition of the wedding blog I’ll go into the best part, the reception. For now leave me a comment about weddings in some way. Have any of you seen any fun formals lately? Something that made you say, “Wow, that one is different and fun”.