The way in which I produced images hasn’t drastically changed, that’s not to say that I have not developed ideas or creative strategies, but the actual equipment and processing has been largely similar.
I use digital camera’s for a few reasons.
They are fast and provide feedback which speeds up production
Economical, they eliminate film processing fees as well as travel and time doing so.
I feel like I can get the desired look out of the equipment I’m using much better than using other cameras that I am not as proficient in.
My main focus is to develop ideas and formulate work that explores the themes that I’m looking at. I hope to articulate both a mood a feeling and inner thoughts visually. I feel if I were to use alternative processes that my energy and time would be largely consumed with logistical and technical issues slowing me down.
Before i explain what equipment I’ve been using I think it’s important to state that there is no perfect camera, but each project / shot / or commission will have it’s better option. It’s important to look at what outcomes one wants to archive. In my case I have fairly solid outcomes in mind. They are; a book, a zine, and exhibition prints. the book and the zine would have fairly small print sizes that most DSLR’s are capable of handling so that’s no issue. The exhibition prints are something to be considered. I’m not a fan of massive prints for this project I don’t think it would be fitting. I've thought a lot about potential arena’s to approach for the work and I would like to mix live music in with the opening night so a more informal less ‘high end white wall’ gallery would be more more suiting, and as such I feel that an A3 print size would be fitting.
The two main camera’s that I use for my commercial work are a canon 5d mk3, and a canon 5d mk4. Both are fine for that print size with the 5d mk 3 having a smaller resolution sensor meaning that I will have less wiggle room in cropping and printing at the correct dpi (300). After a lot of tests and bearing in mind that I want to work with text I have slowly realised that although not critical in every instance it is far more convenient to shoot it right in camera, This is something i’ve learned from the many commercial jobs I’ve done in the past.
These cameras also have great low light capabilities which is needed for the low light cinematic style images that I produce.
The way that digital sensors work is generally the opposite to film in that with film your more likely to be able to burn in over exposed highlights but if you have dark shadows then you will lose that detail. With that in mind when shooting digital when highlights are lost easier and shadows more recoverable it’s a good practice to bracket shoot and if in doubt under expose slightly.
Lens choice (compression)
I have over 8 lens’ but for this project I use mainly 3.
Canon 16-35 F2.8
I use this for a lot of the live action in gigs and areas with little space. I’ve spent hundreds of hours shooting events, I’ll use an off camera flash on a monopod ( sometimes up to 4 on stands wirelessly) and shoot 90% of the time with camera away from my face. It’s taken years to get it right with a lot of trial and error as well as going to the gym to be able to work in such a way to hold awkward equipment at strange angles. I like that I’ve had to work hard for it, it means more to me that way. It is the only way to get most of the work that I produce.
Canon 80mm 1.8
I’ll use this for most of the portraits when room allows. The large aperture makes it a great low light lens and unlike a lot of more expensive similar lens the elements are not super heavy so it is fast to focus. I’ll use it sparingly for live action ( gigs and shows) to get a small amount of images. It’s mostly for portraits and 85mm ( on a full frame camera) has a very pleasing compression for portraits paired with the low aperture it can really put the focus on the subject . I like to use it for the cinematic images that I shoot because of it’s compression and low light.
Sigma art 35mm 1.4
This is my go to lens for the cinematic images i produce. As a lot of my work is very dark and includes large amounts of negative space in the image mainly at night this lens is perfectly suited for it. The low aperture allows me to keep the iso in a range that produces less grain and distortion and still allows me to expose the images that would normally be underexposed with available light from street lights, screens, and sometimes the LED lights that I use.
Overview of processing video
Below is a short video that shows my very basic and minimal processing. I think of if like digital film.
Finished image from demo below