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Tips for Mobile Photography, Part 1 // Mornings with Fox 43, WBIR

With the recent release in Apple’s iPhone 6 & 6+, many people are asking if there is any reason to have a point & shot camera anymore. And, can camera phones really produce consistent results. Today’s segment, “Tips for Mobile Photography, Part 1″ focuses on 3 tips for better mobile photography. In part 1, I don’t get in depth as to what apps to use, filters to look for, etc. However, I concentrate on elements that will produce good photographs. Then, in Part 2, (coming soon), I’ll give an inside look into what apps I use & may even give you an opportunity to watch me edit a series of phone photos. In any case, here is the video link (click here) from this am as well as notes from today’s segment. Enjoy!
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Photography Basics: Aperture & Shutter Speed // Mornings with Fox 43, WBIR

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Tips for Best Wedding Day Photos | Mornings with Fox 43, WBIR

Hey friends! I’m excited to announce that I’ll be making another appearance on Mornings with Fox 43 this Wednesday morning, July 10, at 8:30am. I’ll be talking with the lovely & fantastic, Abby Ham, providing ‘Tips for Best Wedding Day Photos.” I’m confident it will be a great resource for anyone involved in the wedding planning process, be it brides & family members, wedding planners & other photographers. Also, Wednesday morning, I’ll post my notes from the segment on the blog & stay tuned for a link from the segment that you can pass on to others. Hope you enjoy! Thanks for watching. 
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FAQs Part 1… Camera Equipment & Experience

It appears that many of our readers have questions & we were eager to help provide answers to common questions we receive. Our approach is solely based upon what works best for us, thus, it may not be what is most practical for you. However, this will help you get a better idea of who we are & what we do. It will also reveal more about the mechanics and the fun behind-the-scenes antics that happen around here (intentionally and accidentally). I imagine as this series expands, we’ll find creative ways to answer these questions. Enjoy!

1. What camera equipment do you use?

I’m often asked what equipment I use & that’s a bit of a loaded question. I suppose this Q comes mainly from other photographers. The answer, it depends. It depends upon several variables, (i.e. what type of shoot? am I shooting digital or film? or both? wedding? family? commercial, etc.). However, I do have an ‘essentials’ kit (for digital & film) that accompanies me on every shoot as well as additional equipment for more complex projects, essentially meaning that I take the studio to the client. I let the type of shoot & client preferences help me determine whether I’m shooting digital or film. For example, most commercial & editorial shoots, such as home interiors, the client (often a magazine), prefers high-resolution digital images. For weddings, I tend shoot both.

Digital Kit
I’ll start by unpacking my digital essentials kit; On every digital shoot, I take my Canon 5D Mark III & Canon 1-V w/ battery grip (as a backup or supplement although it’s 35mm film). And in many cases I borrow or rent an additional Canon 5D Mark III as a backup as well. I also take (Pictured: L to R) my 50mm f/1.2, 85mm f/1.2, 24mm T/S f/3.5, & 135mm f/2. For weddings, I often borrow Alan’s 35mm f/1.4 as well, mainly for family formals, a wide auto-focus comes in very handy! As you’ll notice, I do not own a zoom lens. It’s not that I do not think they are useful or easier at times; I made a commitment a few years back that I wanted to take the best photos I could. Prime/fixed lenses are sharper in comparison & I figured I could always ‘zoom with my feet.’ I usually have a Shootsac around my shoulder holding my lenses & have a Thinktank memory card holder & extra battery slipped into the bag pocket. Further, I have my Gossen Starlite Light-meter for shooting film. Here’s an iPhone pic.

Film Kit
You’ll see that some of the items of my digital kit are brought on film shoots. It seems to me that my film setup is a bit bulkier & harder to manage at times, but the extra effort consistently pays off. In addition to the Shootsac, I also bring a larger shoulder Contax camera bag (not pictured) to keep my backup camera, extra film, Polaroid back & 120/220 backs/inserts. Below is an iPhone pic of my film setup. My main camera is a Contax 645. The majority (90% or so) of the time, I’m shooting with the 80mm f/2 Zeiss lens. In addition (L to R), I have the 140mm f/2.8, 120mm f/4 Macro & 55mm f/3.5. I use the zip bags to hold different types of film (I have 3, the largest is not pictured). That way I can keep different film speeds/types separated.

Additional Equipment
I’ll refrain from geeking out & going into too much detail but here’s a list of additional equipment including lighting setups. Much of a photographer’s career is found in the ability to solve problems with lighting. Thus, I always want to be prepared to setup a studio on location if needed, although the majority of my photography is done using available light. The following come in necessary when shooting commercial products, wedding receptions, in-studio portraits, etc.

And, the above does not include all the computer equipment (all Apple of course), portable & desktop hardrives, memory cards & film. Geez, this gets expensive, huh?

2. Did you go to school for photography?

Nope, but I often wish I did. I imagine I would’ve learned some things about the darkroom & printing that I am in the process of & have spent years learning about. I read dozens of books a year on photography & am consistently adding to the library. There are thousands of ways to learn photography these days yet nothing beats standing on the shoulders of fantastic photographers who have paved the way. There is still so much to learn.

However, I did go to school & have a Bachelor of Arts in Religion & Communications, University of Mobile; a Masters in Divinity, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary; & spent two years in Ph.D. work in the field of Strategic & Organizational Leadership, Regent University (although I did not complete that degree)… sigh. If you want to hear more about this crazy story, we’ll chat over some coffee. It’s been a crazy journey!

3. Do you offer any other services besides photography?

Yes, in addition to Finch Photography, I own/lead The Visible Group, a marketing & design company. Although I spend most of my time pursuing photography, because it’s awesome, we’ve won numerous design awards that we’re quite proud of. TVG focuses primarily on mixed media design (print/web) & branding. I’m also in process of pursuing a few new biz ventures… stay tuned!

I sure hope this has been helpful. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or comments; I’m glad to help.

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Vendor Spotlight: Limestone Films

The photography industry allows us the opportunity to meet & connect with some of the most wonderful people in the world. Today we wanted to feature a couple who have become some of our dear friends & might I mention that they are fantastic videographers! We’ve had the pleasure of working with the great crew at Limestone Films, Robert & Aston Miles. They are a film and production company based out of Chattanooga that focuses on telling stories about peoples lives. It would highly benefit you to check out their work, click here. Fantastic!

The Limestone Crew accompanied by their beautiful kiddos! L to R, Carson, Robert, Lila & Aston. This beautiful pic taken by one of our fabulous photographer friends, Brittany Moncrief of Moncrief Photography!

We thought you’d love to meet this couple. They are a boat-load of fun & highly professional. If you’re looking for a fantastic videographer for your event, look no further! We’re thankful they took some time to sit down for an interview. Enjoy!

Finch Photo: How long have you been in business?

Limestone Films: We began filming in 2010, so we are starting our third year of telling stories.

FP: What are your business goals? Where do you see Limestone in five years?

LF: Our goal as a business is to be the area’s premier storytelling filmmakers and captivate people through the power of film. With that being said, we’re simple people and at the heart of it all lies God and our family. Our 5‐year goal is to make much of God, spend as much time together as possible, and simply continue to live our dream of telling others’ stories.

FP: What services/products do you offer?

LF: We specialize in storytelling through film, whether that be a couple’s wedding story, a corporation’s business story, or the story of an event that is being documented.

FP: What role do you play in the life of a wedding?

LF: There is so much more that can be told on the wedding day through the power of film and audio that cannot be achieved any other way. The tender moment of a dad whispering how proud he is of his daughter, the moment before he walks her down the aisle, the sweet words a groom says to his bride as they see each other for the first time, those once-in-a-lifetime words from a sibling as they toast and celebrate their new life together. These are the words, the emotions, and the story we want to capture and tell.

FP: What do you enjoy most about working with prospective brides and grooms?

LF: We’re saps for the story. We just love love. We want to hear how they met, how they got engaged, what they are looking forward to in their new life together. Getting to know the couple as much as possible helps us to truly relate the story through film in a personal manner that is fit just for them. On top of that, we love building relationships and new friendships with our couples that will continue way past their wedding day.

Here’s one of their recent weddings… Incredible!

FP: How did your business start? What’s your story?

LF: We began Limestone Films out of a long-standing love for film. When I was young, I (Robert) had a high-school job working at Regal Cinemas. For years after that it was just a hobby. It wasn’t until 2009 that we saw a wedding film online that moved us to tears. We had never seen a wedding story told in such a manner that so emotionally connected us to a couple across the country that we had never even met. From that moment on, we knew that’s what we wanted to do. Ever since we’ve put our heart and soul into learning, training, and growing to make films like that.

FP: Do you see any wedding trends you are excited about? How has your business changed/grown over the past 3 years?

LF: We’re ready for the old-school stigma of “videography” to pass. Te get rid of that picture of an old guy who sets up a 50 lb camera on a tripod in the back and does nothing else. That’s the trend we’re most excited about…people being moved by the power of wedding stories through film. People who then get excited about, and make a priority for, having that kind of film for their day. It’s amazing to see how far you can come in just the three years we’ve been in business. When we started the “stories” we told looked more like music-montage films that anything else. We’ve grown a lot in finding the real story of the couple no matter the situation, and relate that to others. We still have a long way to go and we never want to stop growing.

FP: What is one of your most memorable moments?

LF: I think one of the most memorable moments was the time when the light bulb finally went off in our heads and we said, “Wow, we can actually do this!” We had shot two weddings and they had turned out decent. But we had just wrapped up our first photographer promo and we surprised even ourselves. It was such a key feeling to see the finished product, be proud of what we’d done, and get that final push to say, “Yes! Let’s do this!”

FP: Do you travel for weddings? If so, how far? How does that work?

LF: Heck yes we do! We love to travel. We’ll travel as far as the couple wants to take us. We have an inquiry in the works for a wedding in India that we’re hoping to film. It’s exciting to us to be able to tell stories visually through different countries, cultures, and couples. For us, we love destination weddings because it becomes more of an experience that a one day event. We get to spend even more time with the couple getting to know them, filming more of them, and telling a more compete story of them. Of course, we have to charge a travel fee to cover costs, but other than that it’s business as usual.

FP: Where are you located and what is the best way to contact you?

LF: We’re located in Chattanooga, TN but we can be reached by phone (423.521.0076), email (info@limestonefilms.com), or the interwebs on our website at http://limestonefilms.com. Give us a shout, we’d love to hear your story!

Thanks Limestone for taking the time to chat with us. We love you guys, respect you & admire your passion for people & translating their lives to film. Looking forward to see what you all do next!

And in case you missed it, here’s the Film they did for our Studio Open House!

  1. Jessica / This is so cool Ben! Congrats on the new studio, you're just down the road. May have to visit and perhaps schedule a session for my little man! :)6.02.12 / 7:50 pm
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