We’ve been promising people a regular email newsletter for some time and we’ve finally found some time between shoots to work out how to do it! In this issue:
Hope you enjoy!
All creatures, great and small…
Everyone knows that we specialise in photographing people, but I think it might come as a surprise to some that we have a ball photographing “other” animals too. I’ve always been a dog owner (although I’m between dogs at the moment) and really get along with most dogs pretty well. Here are a couple of our more memorable canine portraits:
Of course it’s not just dogs:
This parrot, the beloved pet of one of our clients, was a unique challenge. It flew around the studio and kept landing on my head while I was trying to photograph it! Next challenge – I’d love to photograph some horses (might have to be on location, rather than in the studio, though)!
To see more of our pet photos, check out the new Pet Photographer section of our website.
Visit us on Facebook!
Umm. I’m not sure what more to say about this! Visit our Facebook page here!
We’ll be hiring soon!
Just a heads up that Cooper Studio will soon be looking to hire a new team member. The position will involve having a hand in most areas of the studio including customer service, production, admin, editing and assisting in photography shoots.
We’re still formulating the detailed job description, but in general terms we’re looking for The Perfect Employee: Someone who loves life, people and photography, who is dedicated, well spoken, well presented and interested in a career in an arts based industry.
I’ll stress the person needn’t be a photographer, but needs to love photography. Ongoing training, coaching and support will be provided (by me).
The career path would include becoming a photographer, studio manager, or production manager. We’ll be looking to hire from mid-October.
Know someone who might love working here? Drop me a line on our contact form.
Ask a photography question!
Love photography but finding something baffling? Ask us a question! We’ll have a regular section in the newsletter where we answer the best photography related questions from our readers.
To kick off, here’s a question from Steven, who uses a point-and-shoot camera and wants some help choosing a dSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera. This inspired our Top Six story below. Steven wrote:
|I’m quite a good amateur photographer, primarily interested in outdoors photography. I currently use a Canon S5 IS. I am trying to research an appropriate DSLR camera to buy, or trial. I am tech savvy, so advanced features don’t frighten me.
I don’t want to leap too far ahead too quickly.
Do you have a recommendation for an advanced amateur DSLR, or point me in another direction?
The top six dSLR features to look for:
Don’t sweat the camera brand. In the studio we use a range of “professional” grade Canon dSLR cameras, but we’d quite happily use Nikon or any of the other major brands. We use Canon because they were clearly the best at the moment in history when we went digital. Since then the other brands have caught up. We keep using Canon because they’ve stayed competitive, and we have invested heavily in accessories such as lenses and flash units.
The dSLR market is now considered mature and the basic technologies are well established. There’s not a lot of real innovation happening, and the market is fiercely competitive. Because of that, there are virtually no bad dSLR cameras being sold. You are likely to be completely satisfied with any of the major brands such as Pentax, Sony (formerly Minolta), Olympus, Canon or Nikon.
To differentiate themselves, most brands have unique camera features, but in reality most of these are pretty gimmicky, cause confusion, and are not really worthy of your attention . Some features are certainly handy, and vary a bit according to camera model and brand, so here’s our top six features:
- Low Noise at high ISO. Digital noise is the grainy quality of a photo that is added as a result of the limits of the camera sensor and computer processor. A camera with High ISO ability needs less light to work, so is handy in shade, or in the evening. Unfortunately as ISOs get higher, noise always gets worse. That said many of the new dSLRs have pretty amazing low light ability and they’re worth seeking out.
- Wide Dynamic Range. “Dynamic Range” is a camera’s ability to see light and shadow at the same time and is measured in something called “stops”. Simple rule, the more stops of Dynamic Range the better. Five stops is pretty ordinary these days, six or seven is good, and anything higher is excellent (and getting expensive, real fast).
- Image Stabilisation. This feature reduces blurriness caused by camera movement. It’s one of the few uber-high-tech features that is worth seeking out. Canon and Nikon cameras have unstabilised bodies and optional stabilised lenses, most of the other brands now have stabilised bodies and unstabilised lenses. If the stabiliser is in the body, you pay for it only once. If it’s in the lens, you pay for it with each lens you buy. But Nikon and Canon argue that by having stabilisers in the lenses, they are more finely tuned.
- Sensor Cleaning. Anyone who’s been shooting with dSLRs for a while will come to hate dust. It enters the camera body when you change lenses and sticks like glue to the statically charged digital sensor. It then shows up as a dark spot in every photo you take, and you end up spending hours removing the spots in Photoshop. A lot of modern dSLRs have a function which shakes the sensor or hits it with sound waves to remove dust. This is usually quite effective. If you ever plan on using more than one lens, don’t buy a dSLR without this feature! PS. Film SLRs don’t have this problem!
- High native Flash Sync speed. When you use a flash it will generally only work up to a certain camera shutter speed, called the flash sync speed. To capture action, or to use “fill flash” outdoors you need to be able to use a high (that is short) shutter speed, for example 1/200th of a second. In the past there were expensive professional cameras with a maximum sync speed as low as 1/30th of a second, but today you should demand at least 1/160th or higher. Note: don’t be fooled by claims of unbelievable flash sync speeds like 1/4000th of a second. These are generally not “native” in that they are not a function of the camera shutter, and don’t really work very well.
- Less megapixels! Yes, I said less megapixels. Don’t get sucked into the megapixel race. The difference between cameras with two megapixels and those with three megapixels was important. The difference between cameras with say,18 megapixels and those with 22 megapixels is not important. In fact too many megapixels often makes image quality worse, because the trade off is usually higher noise, lower effective ISOs and narrower dynamic ranges – see Top Features one and two. Incidentally, to make a great 6×4 inch print (the most common size for consumers) you need exactly one and a half megapixels . More won’t make the picture better!
We hope you’ve loved this issue of the Cooper Studio newsletter. Got questions, got comments? Email us, we’d love to hear from you.