RAW Format

Many years ago, right after digital entered the pro market, I shot a wedding on a digital camera for the first time. Back then, memory cards were wildly expensive so the natural inclination was to shoot JPEG format on all event photos, as those cards filled up quickly. 

But what happened that day taught me a lesson I won't forget. The light meter in my trusty Nikon had broken and was severely underexposing every single shot - by about 2 1/3 stops. Now, if you are familiar with photography, you know that is bad news bears. You can't put in data that was never captured.

I had a second shooter that day, so we had photos of the event, but certainly didn't have what the client had expected. It was the first, and hopefully the last time a catastrophic equipment failure ruined someone's wedding photos that I was hired to shoot. 

If I had shot RAW format, the client would never have known. Recovering 2 stops in a RAW file is a no-brainer that would be undetectable to a client. At 2 1/3, there might have been a tiny amount of added noise, but still barely detectable. 

Since that day, every shot I take is in RAW format, and it has saved me numerous times, both with equipment issues and difficult lighting situations.

Medium Format Makes A Difference

I'm often asked why I shoot so many of my photos using medium format. I mean, it's SO heavy, right?

Yes. It's pretty heavy, even compared with a Nikon D5 with a long lens attached. But I didn't get into photography for comfort. I got into photography for perfection. Now, I realize I'm extremely far off from ever having taken a "perfect" picture, but that is always the goal. Medium format makes that more possible in several ways.


Tonal range is probably the most important to me. When you shoot with medium format, the sensor is much larger than a full frame or APS-C DSLR. Even though you can buy very high resolution DSLRs, they are cramming the pixels into a much smaller space. That means the DSLR, while it may even have the same megapixels as medium format, simply can't collect as much light. Larger pixels collect more light and produce less noise. On the Hasselblad H5D-50c, the pixel size is 5.3 microns. On a comparable DSLR, that is around 4 microns. That's a huge 28% difference in final product. This equates to 14 stops of dynamic range in a 16 bit file. 

Depth of field. There's a fair amount of debate about the actual physics of depth of field in medium format vs DSLR. However, the proof of medium format's dominance is evident in every photo.  The fact that medium format lenses can be so large is exactly the reason. Large lenses are much simpler to design and build (although much more expensive). Cramming optics into a smaller space requires compromises that medium format just doesn't have to make. 

Certainly DSLR photography has it's place. When I shoot weddings, the actual ceremony and reception are always shot with DSLR. Medium format is not remotely suited for action. However, when I do formals and bridal portraits, you can bet you'll see the Hassy in my hand.

Outdoor Shooting

You learn early on in a photography career that the sun is both friend and foe - without color cast, but often with undesirable harshness. Photographers just starting out find that they spend a lot of time waiting for just the right light.

However, for the creative professional, that's often not an option. Deadlines loom and we must deliver quality to our clients at top speed. Thankfully, there are many ways to overcome the limits of bad sunlight using specialized equipment. 

We can overpower the sun using strobes, we can open our aperture wider in sunlight using neutral density filters, and we can cut down on harsh reflections using polarizers. Obviously all of these items cost money, and before our kit is completely built out, we have to improvise. 

With a little creativity and a little technology, we can bend the sun to our own will.

Nikon D4s, Zeiss ZF.2 100mm, fill flash, 1/800 @ f/16 ISO 100, ND 0.9

Nikon D4s, Zeiss ZF.2 100mm, fill flash, 1/800 @ f/16 ISO 100, ND 0.9

We can overpower the sun... and we can cut down on harsh reflections

Preparing for Your Wedding

The wedding day is one of the best days of your life. And it's also one of the most exhausting, stressful days of your life. 

Chances are, you'll look back at your wedding and it will all be a blur. A happy blur, but a blur nonetheless. That's exactly why it's so important to hire a professional to capture the day in photo. Your photos will be your memory of the day, and will show you things you didn't even realize were happening. 

One thing I always stress when meeting with the couple before the wedding is planning. It seems like a pain to list out the formal shots you need. But trust me, when it's pure chaos and Aunt Sally is angry that nephew Billy wasn't in the shot with the Groom's family, you'll be happy you did.

When we plan wedding formals, we start with a list of common photos that are requested. Cross of the ones you don't want, add the ones that aren't on the list. When it comes to wedding day, we will take charge. Formals can take hours if left to chance. I will make sure the shots on your list get done, and we will get it done fast so you can hit the reception!