Canon T3i 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson at Lettuce Lake Park Tampa Florida with Dan

Dan sets up a shot at Lettuce Lake Park during our 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in Tampa FloridaDan recently moved to Florida and wanted to make sure he can have great photographs of the sunshine state right away with his newly acquired Canon T3i.  So I met him at Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa, Florida for a 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson.  Dan was an enthusiastic learner with some previous knowledge of photography.  By the end of the 2-hour lesson he had a lot more photography knowledge!

We went out onto the boardwalk in the park where the sun was darting in and out of clouds.  This would be annoying most times for photography, but it allowed us to practice getting the best exposure while standing in one spot as after almost every shot, the light would be different, and something would need to be adjusted to get the best exposure again.  

I am looking forward to seeing what Dan photographed being a newcomer to Florida during our next photography lesson and helping him continue to grow with photography knowledge and skills.

Nikon D750 Real Estate Photography Lesson in Tampa Florida with Debbi

Debbi with her brand new Nikon D750 during our 1-on-1 commercial real estate photography lesson in Tampa FloridaI often get asked by photography students, what photography gear should I buy next?  My first question back to them is, what is your budget?  When Debbi called me she said she needed everything starting with the camera and she wanted to be able to make shots of her listings for her real estate business.  I asked what the budget was first as I always do, except this time the reply was a little bit different as she said basically any budget is ok!  Well, this meant I could recommend Nikon's newest full frame DSLR, the Nikon D750 along with its tried and true Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G lens and my preferred Induro brand carbon fiber tripod.  Now that is a camera bag full of gear one can grow into!

This was my first time to gets hands on with the Nikon D750 and I was totally impressed.  It was hard for me to hand it back to Debbi, I wanted it to be mine!  After showing Debbi how to use my 5-step process for getting a well exposed and sharp shot in any shooting conditions, without taking the time to setup her new tripod, I just tried some very high ISO handheld shots of the rooms in the listing of hers we were in.  I was blown away by the shots I could make at ISO 3200 and higher of the rooms of the house with the Nikon D750 and the Nikkor 14-24mm lens just hand holding it.  Like really blown away.  Even shooting at the largest aperture of f/2.8 and ISO 3200 the results were startingly good in terms of lack of noise and depth of field.  For the next lesson we will actually put the D750 on a tripod and I cannot wait to see ISO 100 results!

Canon T2i 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson at Curtis Hixon Park Tampa Florida with Marquita

Among the fountains in Curtis Hixon Park Tampa Florida Markita learns how to shoot in manual mode with her Canon T2i during our 1-on-1 DSLR photography lessonMarquita has a party planning business (website) and wanted to be able to make her own high quality photographs for marketing and promotional purposes.  She met me one morning in Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa with her Canon T2i and I began showing her how to shoot in manual mode and really take control over the results of her photographs with regard to exposure, depth of field and composition.  Marquita was a fast learner and soon was able to change all five of the necessary settings for shooting in manual mode.  

The last thing we practiced during our 1-on-1 DSLR photography lesson was a little motion blur shooting.  Marquita really liked this effect achieved by using a slow shutter speed and moving the camera while pressing the shutter to freeze the subject but blur the background to imply motion.  

Marquita has already sent practice shots of her party supplies and is applying what she learned during the photography lesson to her event party business and is thus on her way to having her new photography skills make money for her.  I look forward to meeting her again soon at her studio in St. Petersburg to learn product photography more specifically using lights and photography backgrounds, etc.

Nikon SB-910 Speedlight 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson at Lettuce Lake Park Tampa Florida with Mike

Mike using the Nikon Creative Lighting System Commander Mode to trigger his SB-910 Speedlight with his Nikon D7000 at Lettuce Lake Park, Tampa, FloridaI met Mike for a second 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson once again in Lettuce Lake Park, Tampa, Florida this past Saturday.  Since our first photography lesson on the 4th of July he has invested in a Nikon SB-910 Speedlight which he got for a great price.  We met in the visitor's center which provided not only a cool, climate controlled space, but also one very much like a regular private home indoor lighting situation.  There were dark corners as well as large windows letting in lots of light.  We started off with seeing just how powerful his speedlight was, and found it to be very powerful.  After locking in camera and speedlight settings, then it was largely a matter of how to angle the speedlight head.  I showed Mike that even just a centimeter one way or the other can have a pretty big impact on how the photograph looks.  

We then moved over to the large windows to show how to balance the exposure in a backlit situation.  I had Mike first set the shutter speed to get the windows to look well exposed.  Then we dialed in the speedlight power and angle to illuminate the subject to match, with that subject of course being me!  Without a speedlight it would have been impossible to see outside the windows and the subject, one or the other would have to be a silhouette.  Thus, a speedlight is a very necessary photography tool for photographing backlit subjects, as well as many other situations.

For the last practice we went outside and found the limits of the Creative Lighting System and Commander Mode.  In order to get his Nikon D7000 to trigger the speedlight, as you can see in the photo above, the speedlight needed to be twisted toward the camera.  I recommended that Mike invest in a pair of radio triggers that can work in direct sunlight no problem, and also from much further distances.  I look forward to seeing his off camera flash (strobist) results!

Crowne Plaza Tampa Hotel Event Photography July 2014

A guest talks with a featured speaker at the Crowne Plaza Performance Series event in Tampa Florida - Nikon D300 Nikkor 50mm @ f/2.8 ISO 200 1/60thVery early I woke up for a 7:30am start time to photograph an event in the south Tampa area at Crowne Plaza hotel.  This was so early that there was not even any traffic yet on I-275 so it was actually a pleasant morning cruise down the highway.  The event itself was very straightforward with a series of speakers all speaking in the same room with only an adjacent room for food breaks needing to be covered.  

Attendees were asked to play a clever game with Xs and Os at Crowne Plaza Tampa event - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 800 1/60th SB-800 hotshoe mountedI was told by the client that this 6.5 presentation had been done in several cities before so tons of photos of the speakers themselves were not necessary and that I should instead focus more on the attendees interacting with the activities called for during the presentations.  Above you can see two people working on an X and O strategy puzzle.  

Having fun while speaking at Crowne Plaza Tampa Performance Series event - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 800 1/60th SB-800 hotshoe mounted 

The speakers all did a very good job making it seem like it was the first time they were ever giving their presentations, which to me is the sign of a good speaker.  They mostly spoke about strategies for improving the hotel business, not something I normally read up on, but even I was entertained by how they presented ADR, etc.  I always like learning new inside jargon for a particular industry too.  ADR!

Learning new methods for improving her hotel at Crowne Plaze Performance Series event in Tampa Florida - Nikon D300 Nikkor 50mm @ f/2 ISO 800 1/60thIt was not all just fun and games, there were actual nuts and bolts tutorials on how to better use the mountain of data collected on hotel guests for establishing room rates and more.  

Leading a game of hotel business Jeopardy at Crowne Plaza Performance Series event in Tampa Florida - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/4 ISO 800 1/100th SB-800 hotshoe mountedThey even found a way to make hotel business trivia work for a realistic Jeopardy tournament complete with red buzzers!  I noticed that the front row tables were either stacked or trigger happy as they were the first to buzz in the most.

Getting surprising results during an exercise at Crowne Plaza Performance Series event in Tampa Florida - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/4 ISO 800 1/60th SB-800 hotshoe mountedI enjoyed my time listening to the speakers, learning about the hotel industry and finding creative ways to photograph a group of people who were for the most part, basically just sitting around tables.  

Professional Business Headshot done in office in Tampa Dale Mabry Florida with John

Business Headshot made on location in the Dale Mabry area of Tampa - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/6.3 ISO 200 1/200th - Strobist: SB-800 in 43" brolly & SB-600 in shoot-through umbrellaI packed up my portable photography studio equipment and headed to the north Dale Mabry area of Tampa to make an on location headshot of John in the lobby of his office building.  I was sent examples of headshots other staff members already had made and was told to make his headshot as close to that as possible.  The examples were not shot on a photography background of any type, just using existing walls or areas.  So we went out into the large atrium/lobby in his office building and I arranged my lights and produced a headshot very similar in look to all the others already on the employee page of the company website.  For the shot above, I cut out the darker background and placed the subject onto a digital white background to compliment the modern style of the over headshot.

Nikon D5200 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson with Krista in Lettuce Lake Park Tampa Florida

Krista lines up a shot with her new Nikon D5200 in Lettuce Lake Park Tampa Florida during our 1-on-1 DSLR Photography LessonHaving recently been to Hawaii, and already planning a return trip, Krista wanted to make sure she could make the best photographs possible with her newly acquired Nikon D5200.  So we met for a 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in Lettuce Lake Park in the north Tampa area this past Saturday morning.  She had read the Nikon manual for her camera several times already, which is a very good thing to do, but of course the manual does not tell you how to in a practical way make a well exposed and sharp shot in any given shooting situation.  Fortunately, that is exactly what my 1-on-1 photography lessons do so after introducing Krista to her Nikon and showing what buttons are needed to do what for my 5-step process for shooting in manual exposure mode, we left the air conditioning of the visitor center and headed out onto the boardwalk.  

As I showed Krista how to be aware of the sun position for getting the best results, and how to use AF-S (One Shot) focus mode to be able to recompose and not have to center the subject all the time, we were also treated to a good bit of wildlife spotting.  At one of the boardwalk end points using my water bottle I showed Krista how to control depth of field so that if desired the background could be made to disappear (create bokeh) leaving only the intended subject in focus.  I look forward to seeing Krista's photographs from her next trip to Hawaii!