Shooting in the dark

Recently I had to rent a camera with a better sensor so I could shoot in the dark at a “black light party”. My client wanted to tell it was a black light party and I didn’t want to overpower the effects with a flash.

My 5 year old camera turns to mush above 1000 iso. I was able to turn the rental camera up to 5000 iso. This was unheard of even 3 years ago.

I think the contrast was weird but this was pretty cool to shoot in the dark at 100th of a second.



How to shoot in crappy light

Recently I had a wedding that was in the middle of the day. Usually I try to shoot formal couples shots at beginning or end of the day when the light is best. Unfortunately the schedule did not allow for this.

I’m always trying to light all my shots. As much as I like natural light it’s not great in the middle of the day, outside. So we used a flash. The trick with a flash is not to see its effects dramatically. This was a dark scene opened up with a flash. The trick is to place it away from the camera and off to the side, slighty.


I try to set the exposure so the flash is 1.5 stops down from the brightest part of the scene (sky here) and 1/4 stop down from how the camera is set. Then use the shutter to open or close the background. You can always adjust it later in the computer but it looks better if you shoot it properly.

A more challenging shot was the couple in bright open sunlight. The camera was set to expose for the background and the couple was flashed. On commercial jobs I would have been plugged into a generator with a super strong lights and 2 assistants to help with the gear. We had no time to set this up so I needed it to work with one battery-powered light.


I hope this help you determine whats best for your big day!


Dancing Like You Mean It

_A5A0500It’s such a good feeling to see everyone up and dancing at a party. It shows that they’re in the moment, having a good time, and it makes my pictures all the more interesting. When I was thirteen, dancing was the big social activity at parties. It’s how I made my friends, and began talking to all the “ladies.” Seeing the kids show off their crazy moves brings me back to those times, and I love being able to capture them in that element. Using my super wide lenses enables me to catch all the action from a cool vantage point. This photo also shows how color plays a huge role in my final photos. It can show themes, like this photo with the red hats, the point in time, the magnitude of emotions, and so much more. My only hope is that when this kid becomes an adult and looks back on this picture, he will be transported back to this moment in time. If so, I think I did my job.

The Bar Mitzvah “Breather”

The Bar and Bat Mitzvah is an unforgettable day in a child’s life. Once they have become a bar/bat mitzvah, they are officially an adult of the Jewish community. That can be a lot of stress for a 13 year old! Studying months in advance leading up to the big day, one couldn’t help to be nervous standing up in front of all those people.

One of my favorite parts of the ceremony to photograph is the Hakafah, when the child carries the Torah around the synagogue in procession. While the child is carrying the Torah, it becomes a break in the service for them to catch their breath and relax. The smiles and surroundings of their loved ones brings ease to them, leaving them recharged and less stressed for the latter half of the service.

As the photographer, the service can be challenging. I am usually not allowed to photograph inside the ceremony, and when I do it’s with available lighting, which most of the time is poor. When this moment of the service comes, I get three or four frames to catch it and then it’s gone forever. This is one of the more memorable pictures for the family that I love to capture.