Do it yourself photography

We can do the photography work for those Ottawa based clients for whom we are building sites.  However, it would not be efficient for those clients outside of the Ottawa area.   Business people who want to build web sites can always hire photographers, but that is expensive.  In fact with the state of current technology, if a business person enjoys photography for personal reasons, there really is no reason that they cannot acquire the skills to do good business photography.

This page lists the equipment that we use and trust.  The pictures that we produce will not win any contests but they will be just a effective as the those done by professionals in most cases.  In this section we will share our own experiences, and hopefully enable you to become self sufficient with a minimal investment.  We cannot claim that the three cameras that are recommended are the best possible choices.  They are just choices that have been good for us, and we think that they would be good for you.

Finally, it is anticipated that business will continue to increase their use videos as a means of training employees and marketing in the near future.  At this point in time, Hensky is not focussing on this. This will be rectified in the medium term.

Photography Books

Many individuals will take a few courses as a way to get started in photography.  These may be offered by a local community college, camera club or even the store that sold them the camera.  Youtube videos can be great if that is your style.  However, books will likely play a role in any photographers development to some extent.

If one were to buy just one book, then any of the introductory texts by Scott Kelby would be a good place to start, such as The Digital Photography Book Part 1.  If this book resonates, then the complete series The Digital Photography Book: The Boxed Set would be a good investment.

The mathematically inclined may become curious about the various tradeoffs that exist between how wide open the lens is (FStop) and how long sensor is exposed to the light (shutter speed). Occasionally there will be times, when the photographer will want to override the smart modes in the camera and choose the settings themselves.  This will of course require an understanding of the concepts.  Al Judge reviews these concepts with a certain mathematical rigour and discipline that the more mathematically inclined would appreciated.  Like Scott Kelby, he has numerous books available, Mastering Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO and Exposure is a good place to start.  With this book, one will see that there is a mathematical rigour that underlies the optical principles of good photography.

Choosing a Camera

Although cameras are getting better all the time, it is still necessary to make an investment to get quality photos.  It may be possible, to do it on the cheap buying second-hand.  However, your time is worth something.  We can’t speak for every camera on the market, but the following three cameras are very good.  The cameras listed are progressively more expensive.  They also progress from smaller to larger cameras, which is a factor that may be important in some business situations.

There are a number of points that are in common to all three situations.  First, it should be noted that in all three cases the documentation is very poor and a book is recommended to supplement the manual.  On a more positive note, it should also be noted that all three of these cameras has sufficient capacity in low-light situations to avoid the distractions in the workplace while the pictures are being taken.  As well as a book,

Sony RX100 M3

Sony has taken the lead in the production in the production of small point and shoot pocket cameras.  This model is widely available, and is on its fourth generation showing Sony’s commitment to the line.  At the time of drafting this review, the third generation was the most recent.  However in July, 2015 the fourth in the line came out.  At that time, the two versions are simultaneously available. Preliminary indications are that the M4 is only a marginal improvement and that the M3 is functionally equivalent for business purposes.  This should make the discount of around $200 interesting to a business person.

The RX100 is surprisingly small.  This is a good thing from the point of view of storage, and transportation to whatever site is in play.  This maybe, depending on the person, a problems as the buttons and controls are really small.  The font size of the menus is also difficult to read for those of us with older eyes.  The most significant downside is the organization of the menus.  For many a business person the intuition will not be obvious, and one must filter through a large number of choices that will never be used.  As well, there are likely some programming errors as I have had the menus freeze twice and had to take the battery out camera to force a reboot.  The fact that I found an article on this with Google shows that this problem is common.

On the upside of this, the quality of the pictures are completely professional for most business web purposes.  The smart modes for the camera really are smart, and can be relied on in most business situations.  These modes can be overrode and the user can exploit numerous features.  In fact, I would argue that the primary weakness of the camera is that it has too many features and it is sometimes difficult to find what you really want.  A book by Alexander White can change all that, as it provides the intuition that is not available in the manual.  This is particularly valuable when trying to understand some of the innovative features for low light situations.

Leica D-Lux 109

For a few hundred more, a budding photographer could have the Leica D-Lux 109.  On the surface, this would not seem to be a good idea, as compared to the Sony there are very few advantages.  The Leica is larger, has less features and apparently does not take pictures that are of as high a quality.  Why would it be recommended as a possible choice?  Essentially, the size for many individuals is actually closer to optimal.  To many people the Sony would be just to small.  Also the reduced feature set means that you can find the useful features faster.  Finally, if one looks at the pictures that Leica D-Lux users are posting on sites such as www.flickr.com, it is hard to believe that the quality of pictures are any worse with the Leica.

Although the menus are more intuitive on the Leica, you will still be advised to get the book from Alexander White.  There are significant differences in the way various features are organized, and the book helps you look in the right place.

Overall, the choice between the two cameras is difficult.  At times the Leica will come with a free Lightroom download, which may eliminate the difference between the two.  The Leica’s are reputably of higher quality, but it is impossible to quantify this advantage.  It is also impossible to quantify the difference between a clone made by Panasonic, and the Leica.  Superficially, they appear to be near identical cameras, although one is made in Japan and the other China.  It would take a sample of both to know for sure.  This is something that most photojournalist do not have, which creates a situation where there is incentive to push down on the quality.  It is worth remembering that the bulk of manufacturing defects will not be covered under warranty if they result in minor compromises to the quality of the image under certain conditions. It is for these reasons that the customer reviews on Amazon on such sites are so valuable, as they represent samples that would be unobtainable by the “experts”.

Canon 6D

This is a full sized DSLR that can do pretty much anything a professional camera can do.  Essentially it is a large heavy camera, with a large number of features that can take pictures of the highest quality.  However, in order to do that an investment in lens is needed that will cost more than the camera itself.  A potentially annoying flash may be necessary as the sensor does not have the low-light sensitivity of the two newer cameras above.  In fact, although this camera made quite a splash when it came out in 2012, it is middle aged now as technology is rapidly improving.  The primary cost of the older technology is the lower light sensitivity and the less sophisticated smart modes.

The Canon 6D is a classic high-quality full-frame DSLR.  With good lighting and the proper lens, it can take as good a picture as possible for a web-site.  When the conditions are not ideal that is when photographic skills will come in.  The number of features is overwhelming and the menu structures are a product of an evolution that has gone on for decades.  Here again a good book makes a huge difference.  There is a tremendous amount of choice, as the Canon is very similar to other best-selling Canons, so it is easy for an author to prepare a book for a large audience.  This creates a big of a trap as there are many good books that are just variations on books for other Canon cameras.  David Busch, like many authors, writes a lot of books, however, his book for the Canon 6D is close enough to the quirks of the camera that it can help.

Canon 6D Recommended Lens

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