August Adventures in Portland

Behind the ScenesPersonalTravel

The 2012 wedding gauntlet, or so it was named, is officially over. We’re not finished for the year, but we’re finished with our most demanding portion of this year’s schedule. It was decided to take on the challenge, and put ourselves through a trial this August, with four back-to-back weddings from San Diego, CA, to Santa Barbara, CA, to Portland OR…twice. Most of the time it was just Lucas and myself, no assistants or other shooters. If it weren’t for the tips and tricks we’ve learned from some amazing speakers on Creative Live, I believe we would have had a much more difficult time.

We’ll come back to technical talk and photography business workflow in a minute, first let’s talk about how much fun we had hopping around from brewery to brewery in Portland. Obviously, we thought it was a good idea to have a relaxing day, and kind-of celebrate our accomplishments, so we spent the day visiting a few spots in Portland, OR. Lucky Lab is a great place to grab a pie and a pint in the North-West. They have delicious pizzas, good brews, a spacious floor plan and a nice beer garden to just relax and maybe throw some darts. Cascade Brewing Barrel House in the South-East is one of my favorites, and a must for any of you sour lovers out there. They serve a rotating wide array of lambics that are sure to wake up your taste buds. Last, but definitely not least is the fabulous Hair of the Dog, also in the South-East, who serves up a nice selection of house strongs. I recommend ordering a “Fred” and a chef special pickle plate…trust me you can’t go wrong!

It was a nice day filled with good food, good brews, and good friends. Of course, just because we’re out doesn’t mean we can leave the camera behind…so we grabbed a few shots from around our multiple stops. So, back to gear jargon …I’ve been loving shooting with my mid-level canon primes, the 85mm f/1.8 and the 50mm f/1.4. They’re great for reception work and interior getting ready locations due to their great speed, plus I personally prefer the shallow depth of field that comes with shooting at +/- f/2.0. This made me realize that I hadn’t even touched my 24-105mm f/4L at any one of the most recent four weddings. Well, naturally I started thinking about getting rid of my older backup body, and the 24-105, as well as the mid-level primes, and stepping up to the canon L primes…the 85mm f1.2L & the 50mm f/1.2L. From all of the research I’d done in the past, and all the wonderful professionals out there who give their time and share their experiences, I’d come to understand that these two lenses are some of the best, period. Well, I’m happy to say that, in a matter of a few days, I will be a proud owner of both these wonderful lenses. I can’t wait to get out there and shoot some portraits with the 85, and get some great reception dancing goodness with the 50!

Lastly, back on track with some great tips I’ve learned thanks to Creative Live. It can’t be stressed enough how much proper exposure and white balance is to a professional photographer. It is the first thing my eye sees when I look at other people’s work who call themselves “Professional”. If I can recommend one product, and one product alone, regardless of what camera body, manufacturer or glass  you own…its the Expo Disc. At first glance you might think it’s an overpriced piece of plastic, but I can guarantee  you, regardless of skill level or what’s in your gear bag, it will improve the quality of your product and help give you more consistent work, hands down. It is more important to purchase this item than it is to invest in any other gear. No lens or camera body can provide you with what this product offers.

Okay, that’s it for my rant! Check back next time, and we will get into post-processing workflow and how you can edit an entire wedding, from start to finish, in less than a day. Hint hint, it involves the Expo Disc as part of your shooting workflow…