Photography Questions & Answers

The goal of digital photo buzz has always been to help answer your questions and provide you all with some great photography tips and information that I have picked up over the past 12 years of shooting professionally. From time to time i’ll ask for questions on Facebook and Twitter (or Google + now) and answer these all in a post. I love to help out so don’t be shy, if you ever run into a question just let me know. It can be anything on Lighting, posing, post production, the business side of photography, being an awesome dad (well still trying to figure that one out myself).

Here are a few questions that came up on our Facebook wall.

Q: I want a new lens for my Nikon any suggestions of faves I should check out ?
This really depends on what type of work you are doing. For portraits I love shooting with a real simple 50mm 1.4. Great color rendition, sharp as a tact, focuses really quick, overall just a great lens. A few of my other fav’s for wedding work are the 24-70 and the 70–200 2.8 which are both really versatile lenses with great glass and my 100mm macro for detail shots and florals. But like I said the lens choice really depends on exactly what you are shooting.

Lighting!!! What are some good starter studio lights that won’t cost an arm and a leg. Also, how do you achieve the best possible lighting with a speedlite?

I love lighting and could talk everyones ears off on lighting, if you ever run into me at a gathering I will chat all night about lighting. I have used target=”_blank”>Alien Bee lights for years and totally recommend them. They are very inexpensive but provide good, consistent light. Also really lightweight, I bought these to have a quick studio light that I could just plug into any wall (they are moonlights so don’t need a power brick) but also bring them to portraits and weddings for on location lighting. I have taken them all over, thrown them around for years and never had a problem. Your speed light question i’ll answer over a series of posts since there is so much that we can do to optimize light from speed lights.

What’s the best (affordable) flash for Wedding photography? My SB-400 doesn’t quite cut it. :) Have a Nikon D7000.
Since you are shooting Nikon you will probably want to go with their SB-900’s which will pack more power than the SB-400’s, however speed lights still are pretty weak in what they can produce and depending on the situation you might need multiples speed lights or something with more power like the alien bees I mentioned above. Another really good and very cheap flash is the Vivitar 285, its an all manual flash so you don’t get the benefit of TTL but that can help you to really learn about light quicker and give you a better understanding vs. having it always be automated and these are really inexpensive at around $85. I reviewed these awhile back here: Vivitar 285 flash review and you can see how I used these for off camera lighting here: Photography lighting for night wedding portraits.

What is the best setting to shoot a boxing match?
I have shot a lot of events like this. Normally you are going to have a lot of hot lights on the ring which should give you enough light for a good exposure. I would meter the ring and see exactly what the light is looking like at ISO 800, if you can get away with a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the action then you are good. If not keep increasing the ISO until you can shoot at a fast enough speed (normally I would shoot at 2.8 for an aperture at a sporting event). Then do a custom white balance and set your camera to manual and you are good for the entire night. Remember to move around if you can and sometimes from a low angle get some of the spotlights in the background of the shot, backlighting can always make for a cool look.

What kind of camera works good for quick shots like fast motion shots?

Any camera! Really any camera that can shoot at 250th of a second and faster can capture motion, it just depends on how fast of motion you are trying to capture. Pick up an entry level DSLR and start having fun.

And one question came from Twitter:

@WMatt – @digitalphotobuz what aperture is a prime lens the most clear. In other words, what’s the sweet spot?

This really depends on the exact lens, every lens will be different but a good rule of thumb is 2 stops above your widest aperture. So for example if your lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.8 then the sweet spot would usually be f/5.6. I always think we need to really know our gear inside and out, it’s a great practice to go out and shoot a scene on a tripod at every aperture with your camera and each lens you have. Then come back and review in detail the results to see what is the best sweet spot for each one of your lenses. It also shows you some of the differences in your lenses like how they vignette.

Thanks for the questions everyone and keep them up! You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Google + and ask away.

If you like our articles remember to share them on Facebook, Twitter or +1 them on Google. I appreciate you spreading the word to your photo friends! Also remember to always start a conversation by leaving a Facebook comment at the bottom of the page. I love to hear from you.

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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