The April 2018 Darkroom Chronicles is published.
The daffodil fields are the first sign of spring here in the Skagit. As of a couple days ago, they were in full bloom. The tulips will be blooming by mid-April. In this issue we introduce our new and edgy series Efflorescence. Shot on location in the daffodil fields with local artist April Grossruck. Assunta continues her series – The Not So Secret Makeup Secrets with Lips. Russell gives some editorial advice on visiting the tulips. Ciao for now!
SKAGIT TULIP SURVIVAL GUIDE
The Skagit valley tulip fields are an amazing sight and one of the many photography opportunities in the Pacific Northwest. They are destination and tourist from all over the world come to see a display of springtime color. Once in full bloom, the fields are spectacular. This popularity does have a downside that creates frustration for the locals and tourists alike.
Here is a survival guide to make a day at the tulips more enjoyable.
A weekday is more relaxed. There will be plenty of tourists, but not the weekend mob.
Morning or Evening
Go early or later. These are the best times to photograph anyways. The light is diffused and dramatic. A sunny day is great for walking through the fields with the family, but not so for photographs.
The roads all around the fields are extremely congested. The freeway (I-5) even backs-up for 10 miles in both directions on the weekend. Check the traffic WSDOT app, plan an alternate route and bring a lot of patience.
The No Parking signs have gone up. Skagit County Sheriff’s Department loves to harass and give tickets. These are good-old boy country cops. Do yourself a favor and park in designated lots and avoid giving a donation to Skagit County.
Don’t stop or slow down in the middle of the road. Keep the flow of traffic going. Locals will instantly lay on the horn, scream some very colorful words and give you some non-verbal communication to back it up. As a reminder – rednecks carry guns.
Every year, there is less and less to see. Tulips are a crop, fields rotate and many have no access. This year will disappoint many. There are a few options. Most will be happy with the display gardens, but if you want a real field – the one on Beaver Marsh Road is your only real option.
Tulip Town display gardens
Rozzengaarde display gardens
Beaver Marsh Road
Feel free to give me a call, text or email if you need more information on visiting or to schedule a tulip field portrait session. Enjoy!
#skagit #tulips #roozengaarde #tulipfields #flowers #spring2018 #survivalguide
The Shot – Behind the Scenes
A look at what happens before the shoot.
We specialize in location shoot. Being stuck in a studio rarely fits into the style of our images. It’s a huge world out there and life is too short to create the very common and mundane high key, white backdrop photos. We scout out locations constantly and lucky for us – we have some really unique places in the Pacific Northwest. Creating compelling images is our goal and location shoots adds a sense of drama.
However, there is very little drama behind the scenes. It’s a fun and relaxing experience, no matter if it is a commercial, boudoir session, portrait or wedding. After a consultation and follow up – the gears start turning and concepts are established for the shoot. Gypsy themed boudoir shoot on a commune in the Cascades, Country Girl shoot on the farm or Fantasy Themed woodland wizard – all require props, wardrobe, sometimes set design and clearly thought out shoot plan. We take care of the details. Before we even press the shutter, there are permits, rentals and staff to organize. The day of the shoot we arrive on location and prepare for the session. It can take several hours prep time for an hour or two of shooting.
To start, we want you to look your best. Hair and Makeup are a transformative process. Sometimes simple looks can take more time than wild creative ones. Assunta does double duty if hair has not been hired. Makeup has its own consultation before the shoot. Ordering and using the correct products is based on skin type, wardrobe and concept. Wardrobe advice is given through the entire consultation and planning stage. On site, small alterations might be made to fit correctly. When we do a themed shoot, wardrobe is the showcase for a highly creative design.
Prepping the location can be quick and easy and sometimes a little pain and suffering. Removing distractions, litter or clutter before a photo is taken can make or break an image. You might be saying – take it out in Photoshop. That option does not apply in many instances. Branches may need to be trimmed, cars moved or curtains pulled back. Making the site safe for the client or model is a professional habit that means minimizing all risks. For instance -working with animals, fire and poor weather need to be a consideration before the shoot. While some of our shots might appear to be risky at first glance, they are well thought out. There are certain locations we will never use for safety – railroad tracks are not only redicoulsy amateurish and cliche, but lethal.
Props and equipment are then setup. Props are tested before the shoot and then again on site. Complicated lighting with many stands, strobes, modifiers, scrims and diffusers is held to a minimum. It’s also less gear to keep track of, and since its on the location – wind is our enemy! A six-foot softbox doubles as a sail. No army of assistants also means an intimate shoot. A natural light shoot is sometimes done to keep a soft feel to the images, but most often there is one main light. Occasionally, there are times when every strobe is used for unique and complicated lighting. Reducing the amount of gear means we can shift to another spot quickly and efficiently.
Once this is all done, we bring the client or model on site and start the real work – taking photos. In reality, it’s not taking – but making an image happen. The photograph is a creative process and pressing the shutter is a brief moment when it all comes together.
This is a brief look at what actually happens before, during and after a shoot. Since each shoot is different as the people we photograph, there are a few things to work through. A Secret Door – Boudoir session usually requires a different approach and location than a formal portrait, a more casual Semi-formal or a custom themed shoot.
We do ask a lot of questions and there is an interview process. The more we understand who you are as a person and what you expect makes for a great session. Props, sets and locations are discussed. Wardrobe selection and a make-up consultation are vital. Make-up and hair is tricky and even though Assunta uses natural products – she has a portion of the interview devoted to cosmetics. Wardrobe choices need to be flattering and clients are rarely models, we help you with your selections. We want you to look your best. What are you going to use the photos for? We present ideas that will showcase the images and how we go about the shoot. For instance, if someone wants a Little Black Book for a boudoir session we’ll work on several series of images that flow together. This is also where storytelling comes in – we’ll tell your story through images. We bring a lot of commercial and editorial photography experience to a shoot and there is an emphasis on art direction.
Day of Shoot
Nervous? Everyone is nervous being in front of the camera to certain degrees. By the end of the session, everybody comments that it was easy and fun. We even provide wine or champagne to ease the nerves. On the day of the shoot we set up early if possible. Sometimes that is not the case and we need to carpool to our shoot location. Basically, we can set-up, do make-up and wardrobe simultaneously.
Russell sets up the lighting. We shoot a combination of natural light and studio strobes. Assunta does all the make-up, wardrobe and fixes hair. During the session we pose, offer directions and have a client do non-posed actions. It’s a relaxed approach and again –we keep it entertaining and fun.
After the Shoot
Digital files are edited and processed. Film is taken in for developing at our local lab (note – 2018 we’ll be developing our own.) and after it is returned, it will be scanned and edited. Proofing galleries are set up for the final edits. We rarely proof Secret Door (boudoir )shots online. The next step is to proof the images. We do this in person. At that time the selects are chosen, prints, folios and albums are discussed. If we do this in a client’s home, we can also suggest print sizes for wall space. Once an album layout is completed, there is another consultation for the book and revisions are made as necessary. Print and albums are delivered and immortalized in your home.
Though this is a brief overview, there are tons of details that are omitted. But, you get the idea – it’s a process and the photographs are reflected by our approach. A client never gets this much attention or results from a mall studio.
Tips on shooting better sunset photographs.
When we are down at the beach shooting sunset shots, people ask me often how they can get a better shot. Here are a few tips to try the next time you are out photographing at sunset.
Have a Plan.
First, pick out a compelling location. A parking lot with powerlines is probably not the best location. Look for interesting landmarks that would make the shot even more interesting. For example, a tree. Look up when the sunsets and get there about an hour early. Some days, before the sunset is the best color and often here in the Pacific Northwest. A great strategy if the sunsets below clouds or fog. Summer is forest fire season and the smoke in the sky creates very vivid sunsets. Partially cloudy evenings are the best recipe for sunsets, as the clouds pick up the most colors. Don’t worry about the tree being properly exposed, silhouettes add mood to a sunset shot. Always expose for the sky.
Wide angle shots are great for creating a dramatic panorama, however; the sun will be really small. If you want the sun to be larger in the frame, then you will need to use a 200mm or 300mm telephoto. A telephoto zoom will need a faster shutter speed if you are hand-holding. For example a 200mm zoom, you will want to set your shutter speed to 1/200.
Set your camera to Cloudy or Shade. This will set the white balance to a warmer setting. A white balance set to auto or too cool of setting will wash out the colors.
Use a Tripod.
Use a tripod to stabilize the camera for exposures longer than 1/100. If you don’t have a tripod – look around for rocks, stumps, driftwood, and picnic tables. In a pinch, these work fabulously.
M = Manual Mode/Manual Focus
There are times that to get an accurate exposure, you need to put the camera in manual mode. This is also a good way to experiment. Start at f8, 1/125 and ISO 100. Put your camera/lens into manual for low light and focus yourself. Autofocus has difficulties focusing in low light and when there are not any objects to find.
Look behind you.
It’s easy to be focused on the show in front of you, but pay attention to what is happening behind you. Sometimes the colors in the clouds behind you are the shot!
Don’t take off too early.
Light changes quickly and even though the sun might have just gone down, stick around for another 30 minutes. I have taken some breathtaking shots after sunset.
The Return to Film Photography
Photography has been my passion for a lifetime. As an art form – it has been rewarding and enhanced the experience of my life and others. My first trip to Nepal was when I came into my own and I had a much greater respect for the craft. Out of the ten rolls of film I brought, the images had a life of their own and people had a chance to see a country in transition. It also taught me about portraiture and helped refine my approach to shooting people. I adopted digital photography months after I bought my first autofocus Nikon. That was in 2003. It was an exciting time in Photography. It seemed like anything was possible and I was wishing that I had a digital camera on all my travels and previous jobs.
Fast Forward to Photography 2017.
As a Creative Professional, I need to negotiate contracts, price and deal with demands of clients. Photographs are works of art, need to be respected and paid for. If it’s on the internet – it’s free – is the pervasive mentality. Social Media, photo sharing, news feeds don’t have to pay for photography content and thrive from free use. Blogs, curated websites/pages, magazines, publishers, companies and all others who use photos commercially have taken a cue and are chipping away at the professional photography industry by undermining its relevancy. Having had an image go viral on the internet was flattering at first. It was only for a Facebook post and from there it went everywhere. Did it generate sales or business? No. There will always be a need for professional photography, however; those jobs and clients are evaporating. So, what does this mean for the future of my profession? It means that if you are a professional, you need to be proficient and be even better at business. At what point does the commercial and editorial market dive like the stock photography market?
You can’t throw a rock and not hit a photographer. Everyone claims to be a professional. Everyone has a very capable camera on their phone. So, when these “professionals” all believe they can make money shooting it creates a predicament. What are their credentials. Where is their portfolio. Where is the accountability? The market is bloated with Soccer Mom’s with inexpensive – yet powerful cameras. Portfolios of poorly posed engagement shoots, senior photos on the obligatory rail road track, a wedding where the wedding party is always jumping, multiple boudoir sessions of the same busty friend and infants in baskets or buckets. Fly by Night photographers have zero skills, cheap offers, but they own a camera, so they too can be professional. Photographs are being offered for free – and free is not professional. You need to get paid to be called a pro. As photography becomes less a necessity, images are devalued, it comes down to if you are not cheap or free – you will not get hired.
Prints are what photography is all about. Nobody prints photos anymore. I am positive that most of my paid work that was delivered digital only has not been printed. All these digital files will end up lost eventually. And you might say – “But they are backed up.” Where? On your computer – with the hard drive that will fail if it is bumped just right or you get a new one and don’t back up? On a server? What happens when you don’t pay a subscription fee and they close your account deleting your data? Your phone that will get lost, stolen or destroyed? On Facebook – again, is that a back-up strategy? It used to be that if a person’s house was on fire or a natural disaster – the photos were high on the list of things to save. Times have changed and I’m certain that would not be on the list today. So, here is a little challenge for you. Find your oldest digital photograph. Where is it stored? Has it ever been printed? Open it and see what it looks like. Digital files do not last forever – they can be corrupted or in the case of Jpegs – lost data. So, digital photography has its own issues, namely ephemeral. It’s disposable as Snapchat or a Twitter share or a pile of CD’s that your computer can’t use. The Forgotten Century is living up to its title as digital media is lost daily.
Post Processing is time consuming and the time spent in front of a monitor seems never ending. Editing is forever and developing images in Photoshop or Lightroom are a huge part of a photographer’s workload. Photoshop is also the cure all for poor photography skills. It isn’t. I hear “You can Photoshop that in/out” at all our sessions and weddings. Having used Photoshop since the mid-1990’s and Lightroom from version one – these are powerful tools to enhance, develop and manage images. There is a ton of bad photography that is made worse by poor post processing – and people think it looks good. HDR tends to be one of the most abused forms of developing. As a portrait photographer, I want to scream when I see – alien eyes, waxy-orange skin with some background not of this earth as well. In ten years there will be many clients who wished they had classic wedding or portrait photos and not unfashionable post processing. It will be dated. And if we want – the same goes for ultra-wide angle and super shallow depth of field. These are all the current equivalent of 80’s soft-glow.
As a photographer, I edit and develop my photos. It is part of the craft. There is a trend in to farm the work out overseas. This is to free up time for “busy” professionals to be shooting or marketing. Outsourcing has taken on many forms in the past. Photographers hire assistants that shoot for them. I was at a wedding and the assistants did all the work except for a brief appearance by the pro to do the formals. This longstanding practice has always annoyed me greatly, but the whole laziness of not editing and processing images takes it to a new level. The outsourcing is promoted by some very high-profile photographers and even by the PPA. How a professional organization condones this, is also one of the reasons I canceled my membership.
With so much information/misinformation online, I find it necessary to be vigilant and critical. There are great sources for photography and business that have helped me grow professionally and break some bad habits. At the same time, the onslaught of people teaching, doing workshops, consulting and conducting motivational seminars is dizzying. The new way to make money in photography is to take it from fellow photographers. Turning the craft into Amway based on false promises is not a good business strategy. It’s Herd mentality. Paying for a magic pill to make you money is nothing more than snake oil and making someone else money.
The whole Natural Light movement is again another area that has a following of photographers that usually know nothing about light. Hint – you should really try a flash. It works well and can be dramatic. Flash is even better if it is off camera. Add a modifier and the shot will have smooth fill, nice catch-lights in the eyes and more compelling. There are certainly photographers out there that do a great job with natural light and the images are stunning. However, by proclaiming you are Natural Light Photographer it usually means 1. You have not invested in some vital professional gear. 2. You don’t know anything about light or lighting. 3. You love to sit in front of a computer since you will be doing a lot of work in post processing – Lightroom/Photoshop.
Cameras and photo gear is based on the premise that everyone wants something new and better. A camera that cost $3000 several years ago depreciates to almost nothing today. A challenge would be to resist bigger and better. Canon. Nikon. Sony. Megapixels for what?
Average photography that will be poorly processed and can be shared for free on social media. It’s not getting printed so why the need for anything larger than 6 Megapixels. Or, why not just use your phone. Gear really does not matter. Much. – it is really who is behind the lens and who is in front of the lens. So, as I ship out the last Nikon D800, will that mean I abandon digital? As a professional – this is not 100% possible. I do know that a client can’t tell the difference between a wedding shot done with a D800 or D3300.
The Return to Film.
The leap back to film is something I have considered heavily for years. Having shot professionally since 1994, I have contributed in the fall of film and the rise of digital photography. This is not about Film vs Digital. Both are great, both are mediums of photography. There is no ‘better’ way and digital is amazing as technology has its advantages and flexibility. Film is just the medium. – it’s also the process that counts. Film forces you to work and think different. It’s a deliberate approach to creating. It takes a keener eye. Is it worth it taking the shot? Shooting film isn’t magic or require any alchemic apprenticeship. It also is not a passing fad for the experimenting millennial hipster. As a professional, I need to continue learning about my craft, improve my technique, love what I do and shoot. I have shot Film longer than Digital. In the Digital Age, immediacy rules. People want and need instant gratification. There is a quality to film that isn’t easy, or even possible to replicate digitally. There is a need for digital photography, but there will always remain a place for film as well. Film is not a lost art – there are plenty of photographers out there who can shoot it. Film and the developing process needs to kept alive.
To separate our work from the pack and to be different. Film sets you apart – and far apart – from the herd. Film photographers need to be proficient on many levels. Proficiency means you don’t need to worry about the technical details – and focus on creating.
The look of film is timeless. Film might not have any real mystical qualities, but it has a distinctive look and feel including a natural color palette, broad tonality and soft natural tones. Film blends a huge dynamic range of tones with even gradation from darks to lights while retaining detail in both highlights and shadows in an image. The natural grain (and imperfections that accompanies it) is very different from digital. On location we spend a lot of time on the details from everything like composition, lighting, make-up and hair. Colors need to be accurate. Film has natural colors and is designed to represent accurately. And that brings me to the point – Why spend thousands on a professional DSLR camera and lenses only to put the image through a filter to give it imperfections, limitations, style and look only available in film? Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions, textures that can emulate different types of film photography while film images are already perfect right out of the camera.
With film there is no looking at the back of the camera to assess exposure, focus and composition. Without chimping, you must know how to expose, how the light is interacting with your subject, and how your camera will react to both before you press the shutter. A roll of medium format film is 12 exposures, 35mm is 36 exposures and compare that to the thousands of JPEGs you can store on a 64mb SD card. Once the shutter is clicked – it’s done. No spray and pray – and subsequently 20 images to cull. Film forces you to think about each shot, because each shot costs money. Film and developing costs about $2 each time I click the shutter. That finite value of a limited number of shots on a roll, and developer expense makes me assess if it’s worth it before the shot. Less time in front of the computer, more time shooting is the goal.
When we are shooting with a client I want to make it experience. We communicate many ways and especially with eye contact – whether in person or in an image. The interaction is important on location or in the studio and not being stuck in front of a screen tethered to computer or constantly looking at the back LCD, means that it’s all about them. We can get into the flow of the shoot, talk and have a good time.
In conclusion, this will probably offend someone. Good. As I write this, it may seem that I might be whacking a hornet nest. I am writing this in response to what I see happening professionally in field with few rules, laws or regulations. Yet, most people blindly follow the same path. Does there need to be standards and agreement as union? Probably – but it will not happen. Some may see it as condescending attack on amateur photographers. This is not the case. I am also not saying that Digital Photography is useless – far from it. What this is really about is that the need to have greater balance in my life. A commitment to the process and the craft by setting up shoots, slowing down, being more thoughtful and deliberate. This is what film is all about. Stepping away from digital is like getting my life back. The ability to keep control over images, printing and shooting has been a battle with digital. Returning to a familiar medium, continuing a tradition and being true to myself. My wife, my art and my clients have made this decision very easy. This is not a manifesto about film photography or digital photography. It’s about the camera as a creative tool and making a huge difference in how and why you use it.
The July edition of the Darkroom Chronicles is published.
The Shot – Printing and the Art of the Print
Assunta + Russell Photographers are ambassadors for the Print -The Movement. With the quantity of photos taken on phones and digital cameras – how many get printed and many are lost forever when a hard drive crashes or the phone dies. We are photographers after all and the end goal is a photographic print. This can be in many forms from a paper print to metal or canvas wall art, magazine/newsprint or album, book. Being a professional means that the standards need to be overall high. There is a lot that goes into the photograph and we use professional labs to print. These are much more expensive than the consumer labs and the only alternative is to print in-house using a professional inkjet printer.
Often we discuss printing with our clients. It’s an educational process. Too often the focus is on the digital files, when really the client just needs prints and an album. So here lies the dilemma. The client wants digital files. Why? To share on social media and to print. Sharing on social media is important and the images will enjoy a life of their own online. Will they print? Rarely. Where will they print? Probably Costco, Walmart or Shutterfly because they are convenient or because they are cheap. The main problem is this – all these consumer printers have poor quality prints. So, why did you hire us in the first place? Because you want great photos. We have decades of experience, lighting gear and professional lenses and cameras. We develop the raw digital files to its fullest potential and turn it into enduring art using – again – years of experience and professional software.
So now you want to save money. The final and most important part of the whole process and it’s not the time to get cheap. Everyone has a budget and everyone wants a deal. At Assunta + Russell Photographers, we understand that you may not have endless meant to spend on photographs.
· Payment plans.
· Accept major credit cards.
· Offer Print Credits with all our packages.
· Monthly Special.
· Referral Program.
We do mark-up the price of our prints and we are a business that has bills and pays taxes like everyone else. We get most of our work from recommendations and word of mouth. When a potential client sees our photos printed from a consumer lab and they look bad, they will most likely assume that we are horrible photographers.
The internet is full of comparison tests between all the popular labs. You get what you pay for. If you are going to print anywhere – we can only recommend Mpix. This is the consumer lab of Miller’s – a professional lab.
As photographers in a very disposable world, it’s increasingly important that we return to the art of the print. What will be passed on for generations will not be on you Facebook wall.
The Shot – April 2017. Exposure Explained.
So you pulled the plug – or pulled out the Visa and clicked the magic “Place Order” button B&H Photo website. Your new camera arrives and probably the first thought is – How do I turn it on? After conquering the on/off switch you move your attention to all the dials and buttons. MASP? WB – ISO – I don’t know!!! Though the path of least resistance is to set everything to Auto – you’ll never take full advantage of your camera and the image quality will always be less than desired. Soon you will grab your iPhone and head back out into the world. So How do I take good photos? In a nut shell – you make photos. We’ll dive in how to begin to shoot photos. Simple Basics:
A = Aperture is important when you want everything in or out of focus.
S = Shutter is when you want to capture action.
M =Manual is for when you want complete control over the exposure.
P = Program is essentially Auto, only you can adjust shutter or aperture.
We’ll go into all the buttons in a future edition of the Darkroom Chronicles. But first you need to understand the fundamentals of how these settings are influenced by time, light, space. This without explaining it like a science geek. These three elements determine how an image is exposed. Exposure is the foundation of photography. Understanding the exposure triangle will give you greater creative control of your photos. Exposure is not only how bright or dark an image is, it is also how sharp, blurry or noisy it’ll turn out. The most important thing to understand is:
A change in one of the elements will impact the others.
This means that you can never really isolate just one of the elements alone but always need to have the others in the back of your mind. The camera determines the correct exposure by metering. So, if you set the aperture open and the ISO, the meter sets the shutter speed. What priority setting to use depends on what you are photographing. Portrait photography – you will probably want to use aperture, because it determines what is in focus. Sports, kids and birds in flight – there is tons of motion and shutter priority controls motion. Landscapes can use either, but aperture again to get everything in focus. The trilogy explained in a nutshell:
ISO – the measure of a digital camera sensor’s sensitivity to light. This is like Film. For example for bright light you would use 100 ISO film. For Low light 800 ISO film. The smaller the number (100 ISO) is the less sensitive and the higher number (ISO 1000) is more sensitive, but has less detail and more noise. Keep the ISO low as possible.
Aperture – the size of the lens opening when a picture is taken. The wider aperture will give shallower Depth of Field and affect the sharpness. Aperture is your camera lens and it lets more light in or less light in. The smaller the number (f/ 1.8) is the larger the opening gets, and the larger the number is (f/16) the smaller the opening gets. For portrait you have to set your aperture really wide f/2.8. That’s the secret of how you get sharp portrait and the background out of focus. Likewise set to f /8.0 + to get all of a landscape in focus.
Shutter Speed – the amount of time that the shutter is open. Longer shutter speeds will affect sharpness and may produce motion blur. Shutter speed can be set very fast or slow. It does the same thing as the aperture – lets the light in. So a really fast shutter doesn’t let very much light in and the slow shutter lets more light in. So for kids or sports, a faster shutter speed (1000/s) is the way to go.
Getting the exposure dialed is often a compromise and depends on the situation, So knowing the exposure triangle is important.
In conclusion, all three ingredients that make the exposure takes practice. Set your ISO to the available light, aperture to how much you want in focus, let the meter set your shutter.
• Use the lowest ISO possible.
• Faster shutter speed use wider apertures.
• To prevent blur the shutter speed should be at slowest possible.
Digital Cameras for Travel Photography
When I started seriously shooting and landed my first assignment I was shooting film. The camera body had very little impact on my images. Subject, technique, lenses and film determined the quality of the photo. While film is making a comeback – and it will – digital is the present and future of photography. Would I shoot film while traveling again? Probably not, unless someone was paying me or I wanted to see negatives like it was Christmas morning. Digital is flexible and the latitude in the images is where it really shines.
If you are planning a dream vacation or going on our 2017 Italy Tour, then this is for you. A question I get often is what camera should I buy. I’ll address a few things to mull over when making the tough choice of what camera. Images from your adventure will be from a perfect travel camera. Look for a small and light package for portability, but without sacrificing image quality. So, that means a compact interchangeable DSLR or Mirrorless camera. This list is designed for anyone who wants to improve their photography skills, need to travel light, but want high-quality images to hang on a wall. Standard lens and kit lenses are a convenient package, cover usually 18-200mm and are a compromise to heavier and more expensive lenses. For sharper and faster lenses, budget more money.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Size and weight – A camera for travel needs to be convenient, small and lightweight.
- Image quality – Printing sharp 8×10’s and up are no problem with most recent cameras.
- Low-light – Shake reduction (VR), fast lens, big sensor, and good performance help at low-light.
- Ease of use – The camera needs to be easy to use and you don’t want to miss out because you are navigating menus.
- Flexibility – The camera should be part of a system and have choices of lenses. This allows you to grow with your camera. Lenses are an investment.
- Traditional DSLR cameras are similar in design: light enters through the lens and gets bounced off a mirror, through a prism, to the viewfinder. Mirrorless is the future and uses an electronic viewfinder.
- Traveling has risks – insure your gear.
A short list to get you started:
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR
Nikon D5300 DSLR
Nikon D3400 DSLR
Pentax K-70 DSLR
Sony Alpha a7II
These are just a few of the current offerings and a quick scroll through B&H Photo will yield endless options. As always, we will be more than happy to help you make an informed camera and lens purchase. Olympus, Fuji, Pentax, Canon, Sony and Nikon all make excellent cameras and lenses.
Getting tactile and trying them out in a camera store is highly recommended. Support your local camera shop.