Why I’m trying to be more social

Capture the Market Series 2

The single greatest gift about photography is the ability for images to connect with audiences and evoke emotion.

When you strip it all back, that’s essentially why people love photographs. Because it brings out powerful emotions. Images connect with people’s hearts and their souls and they speak to the viewer.

That is when the audience actually sees the photo.
That’s the thing with modern days, we’re so bombarded with distractions and competitive noise, a photographer may take the most strikingly incredibly photo of all time, and the work may never be seen because it’s drowned out amongst the prevalence of online imagery. I personally find it heartbreaking.

And that’s why I’ve realised, that putting your photo out there isn’t enough. There’s the old adage that if you produce good enough work, it will sell itself. I believe that to a degree.

I envisage the current online competition for attention like this; Imagine having the most incredible piece of artwork every created, but it’s situated in the corner of the dingiest, least visited room of the Louvre. No matter how amazing it is, the majority of individuals will likely never see it amongst the 70,000 square metres of floor space loaded with 20,000 other pieces of fantastic art. You’ll need signs, you’ll need information and you’ll need people talking about it for maximum viewing.

And that’s where social media comes into play, by creating my own noise, raising awareness, building communities through Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, my aim is to create a community of CTP followers who spread the word. It’s not enough just to post an image every now and then with a few slapdash hashtags. I’ve definitely learned that. I realize I actually have to devote a good proportion of my energies to connecting and engaging with other individuals on these social media platforms. You can view it as a hassle, but I’ve chosen to view it as a blessing, I view it as an incredible way for me to connect directly with potential clients from Adelaide all the way to Albuquerque.

So what’s my strategy? Well to actually understand and utilize all the platforms to their capacity. I’ve been perusing Instagram blogs, tutorials and watching videos about how to increase engagement. I’ve signed up for a Facebook marketing program which provides step by step guides on how to maximize engagement. And I’ve created a schedule which I truly intend to stick to, in order to get the word out about Capture the Present. And right here via my blog, I’ll be sharing all the things that have worked and haven’t worked for me.

So stay tuned, I’ll be connecting with you once again!

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Which Lens(es) should you use for a wedding shoot?

Recently I’ve had a few friends ask me about which lenses I use for my shoots.

I personally find this can be a bit of a loaded question. Each photographer is different and has different styles. So ultimately I believe it’s for you to experiment and decide with what works best for you!

Saying that I’m still more than happy to share what I’m currently shooting with and what I find works for me!

My first choice for wedding shoots is the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8. This is arguably my favourite lens that I have. There’s just something about the bokeh, the sharpness, the durability and even the colour profile of the lens that makes me jump for joy whenever I use it! Because of the focal length and zoom factor, it gives me a lot of flexibility at weddings. And because I focus on candid moments, I like to shoot from a distance, and often the subject doesn’t know that I’m taking the photo. In addition, the focal length of 70-200mm is also perfect for portraitures for the bride and groom. In fact, I’d say over 50% of my wedding shots use the 70-200mm!

Classic portraiture shot of Jess with the 70-200mm
Close up shot of Jess during the ceremony. The zoom factor allowed me to stand from a distance and not be intrusive but also zoom right into Jess’s expression during the ceremony!

My other commonly used lens is a prime Nikon 35mm f1.8. Apart from conventional portraiture which I use the 70-200mm for, I love a photojournalistic style of photography. It’s a great style to tell a story, and I can’t see why I can’t translate that style into a wedding shoot! I love using the 35mm to capture my subjects, but also capture lots of the environment behind them as well. The 35mm is really perfect for any environmental portraits, just look at any National Geographic magazines and you’ll likely see the 35mm put to great use. Just remember, if you don’t like lens distortion that much, you’ll have to do some lens correction to flatten out your image in post-production. 

However, you can always use the distortion to your advantage. I often utilize the 35mm to take close up shots of the couples interacting. The distortion of the 35mm can create some interesting angles that you simply won’t get with a 70-200mm or even a 50mmm. In addition, when shooting weddings you always want at least one lens to be able to drop down to f1.8 because of the low light you’ll be dealing with later on at night!

Environmental shot with the 35mm. Shooting with the 35mm allows you to capture your subjects, but also include lots of the background to provide you with context in regards to the setting of the photo.
Up close with the 35mm of Kehren and Roman. Notice the slight distortion at the far ends of the frame which creates a unique angle, almost like the image is coming towards you and wrapping around you. It creates a sense of intimacy, whilst a 70mm or even 50mm would create a much flatter image that’s less intimate.

I also frequently use a Nikon 16-35mm f4 for some wide angled shots of the wedding venue, but it’ll usually only be a handful of shots. As for backups, I carry a 50mm and 24-70mm in my kit bag. And if the light is reaaaaalllyyy low and it’s difficult or not suitable to use flash, I’ll carry the 35mm and 50mm combination as they drop all the way down to f1.8 and f1.4 respectively!

So that’s my current pick of the crop. Through some experimentation, that’s what I’ve found has worked best for myself and my unique style. I’ve utilized some other combinations in the past, but currently, this is what I’m favouring.

I firmly believe it’s entirely up to you to find what combination works for you and the style you are looking for. So get out there and start experimenting!

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A picture says a thousand words, so why would a photographer need to blog?

Hello, Nĭ Hăo, Neih Hou, Vanekum and Selamat Pagi all the way from Singapore, and welcome to my first ever blog post for Capture the Present!

I am very, very lucky to be on this extended working holiday in Singapore. Indulging in street photography and building my brand at the same time.  It has been an amazing opportunity that’s giving me flashbacks to the time when I first picked up a DSLR and taught myself some basic skills whilst traveling around the streets of Japan. (I still remember the frustration and confusion when I was learning about how a lower f-stop meant a larger aperture!). 

This last month has given me a chance to concentrate without distractions on building Capture the Present. There’s been a lot of work behind the scenes, and I’ve been busy honing and crafting the brand so it aligns stronger with my vision and long-term goals!

Of course, part of this work includes starting this blog. But some of you might ask, why would a photographer need to blog?

Well, wanting to share more than I can on Facebook or Instagram has inspired me to blog.

A key priority with Capture the Present is to connect with and establish strong relationships with existing and potential clients. The way I see it, the more social platforms I’m present on the more possibilities that are open to me to build connections. Blogging gives me a platform to connect with my target clients, share knowledge, advice and my experiences. Whilst the comments section allows you to connect back with any queries on your mind!

Facebook and Instagram are great for visual messages and sharing visual content, but there are times when I really just want to say something in words. In addition, I recently read a book (which I highly recommend) called Traction by Gabriel Weinberg which details the effective paths for businesses to increase exposure, and it further reinforced that blogging was a channel worth pursuing me. 

So from here on, I’ll be sharing my journey of building Capture the Present as a brand, documenting my experiences, learnings, successes and even my *gulp* failures through this blog! This post I promise will just be the first of many rants : ) 

But what would a photography blog be without any actual photography? So, here are some street snaps I’ve taken during the last few weeks of my travels in Singapore! 

Speak soon, Shaun. 

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