Monthly Archives: July 2018

What is AI-Servo and when should you use it (AF-C on Nikon)


AI Servo (or AF-C on Nikon) is basically the continuous auto-focus mode for your camera.  Meaning, in this mode, when you hold down your focus button (whether it be back button or shutter button) your camera is constantly looking for a change in the subject where your focal point is landing, and it's updating your focal plane as the change is happening!  So if you have your focal point directly on a subject, hold down your focus button, and your subject takes a step forward, your camera makes the adjustment for you.   

The alternative to this continuous auto-focus mode is, duh, the single focus mode (know as One-Shot on Canon and AF-S on Nikon).  This is pretty self explanatory.  When you hold down your focus button, your camera will only focus once.  If your subject takes a step back in this mode after you've pressed your focus button, your subject will likely be out of focus.  You’ll need to do the work of refocusing yourself by letting off of the button and pressing again.


How can you use this information in real life shooting?

You'll want to understand these modes to determine the best use for them.  When your subject is moving quickly, your focal plane will need to continuous-ly update to keep up.  Al-Servo (AF-S) is going to give you the sharpest images in this instance.  For example, when my bride and groom are walking toward me during the processional and recessional, I always make sure to shoot in Al-Servo!  


In this instance, with them moving toward me or away from me, they will be going outside of the original focal plane (or the area that I want to keep in focus!).  But no worries, because Al- Servo mode will keep my camera quickly updating to the new focal plane.  Using this mode, I should manage to keep my subject in focus!


So, Why can’t you just keep your camera in Al-Servo all the time?

It sounds like it could be helpful because most of what we shoot moves right?  Yes and no.  Movement is okay as long as the area that I want in focus never leave my focal plane.  If I have a wide enough focal plane, a little movement (especially side to side) is no problem.  Now, let's say you want to follow the rule of thirds and you need to focus and recompose your image.  You simply can not us AI-Servo's when you are trying to focus and recompose.  Let's take the photo below as an example.  If in AI-Servo mode, the moment I recomposed so that my focal point was now touching the water, I would have lost the focus from my couple and they would have been a blur while the water would have been sharp.  This is because the camera was set into a mode where it is constantly updating the focus.


Another example of when you can’t use AI-Servo…bubbles!  If anything could get in the way of my focal point, my camera could automatically update to a new focal plane in AI-Servo mode!  In the example below, I need my camera to focus on the couple and not the bubbles.  This can get tricky if the couple is also walking towards me, so in this instance, its best to keep a wider depth of field (larger f-stop) and keep my camera in One-Shot mode.  I can continue resetting my focus manually and as quickly as possible depending on how fast they are moving towards me!  It's my job to ask them to walk very slowly and stop in the middle for a smile and a kiss!


Finally, I won’t get into pros and cons of Back Button Focus, but I will just say that if you are using Back Button Focus, you should always keep your camera in Al-Servo mode.  Basically just remember that when focus and recomposing, you MUST focus once and the let off of the back button before recomposing.  If you don't let off of that focus button, your camera will automatically decide on a new area to focus!

I hope this helps those of you who've been wondering about these modes.  Happy shooting!

Josh and Jordan – Lakeview Resort Wedding

When Josh and Jordan started dating they both felt an instant connection and soon realized there was something to this.  They managed to grow closer even through a long distance relationship and in no time, Josh popped the question.  They were ready to spend the rest of their lives together!

On their special day, the girls got ready at The Waterfront Marriott while the guys spent their morning at Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa, where both the ceremony and reception were held.  Everything was perfect, the dresses, the flowers, the music, the people, the food!  Take a look at some of my favorite images from the day!

Thanks again Josh, Jordan, and your wonderful family for having us!

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Jacob & Maria – Rich Farms

Jacob & Maria celebrated with a large group of close family and friends at the beautiful Rich Farms.  The barn, the gazebo, the florals (by Rooted by Design), the food, the fun! Everything was perfect.  Even if it did start raining just in time for the ceremony.  No problem for this group! They were all so welcoming that we really felt like a part of the family!

I know there are a ton of photos here but I just love them all!  Thanks again Jacob & Maria for including us on your special day.

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My Experience – Cliff Mautner’s Lighting & Skillset Bootcamp

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I finally managed to attend one of Cliff Mautner’s Lighting & Skillset Bootcamps.  It was such wonderful experience.  Pushing yourself and furthering your education in whatever field interests you is beneficial in many ways.  I’m so thankful that I stepped out of my comfort zone and made this trip to New Jersey.  I’m also thankful for my best friend Laurel for going on this adventure with me.  We learned a lot about each other and really supported each other the whole way. Also, my amazing husband for taking time off of work so that I could make it happen!  Finding great support is so important!


KHP for cliff 9 I’ve been a fan of Cliff’s work for quite a while.  It stands out from the others in more ways than one.  The raw emotion he manages to capture on a wedding day is amazing in itself but the way he sees light is really mind blowing.  He described it so beautifully, “Shadow is my canvas.  Light is my paint”.

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I knew going into this that this wasn’t just a workshop or relaxing retreat.  Bootcamp is in the name!  But wow!  We were all pushed to work hard!  I was surprised at how much I learned from both the speaking portion and the hand-ons stuff!  Cliff doesn’t go for styled shoots.  We did have some seriously amazing models but these photos weren’t just for us to take beautiful photos.  He wanted us to push ourself to shoot in a way we hadn’t before.  Philadelphia has so many amazing backdrops for photos and still Cliff took us to spots that we wouldn’t have tried to use.  On a typical wedding day, we often don’t get to shoot in the perfect sun set.  But Cliff showed us how to make that harsh lighting work.  He also took us to dark cave like area under city hall.  Definitely not something I ever would have went for before this bootcamp!  Check out some of these amazing images!  Keep in mind, this was all made with natural light streaming in to “paint” our subjects.

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After booking my spot in this bootcamp, I worried a bit. I feared that I wouldn’t be good enough.  I especially felt uneasy knowing people were traveling from all over the world!  I immediately thought I got in over my head and wouldn’t fit it.  My fears were cast aside when Cliff first said hello.  He really is such a good guy.  He made us all feel welcome and genuinely wanted to know us... and more importantly wanted to help us succeed.  He’s also really funny which made the 12 hour "work" days fly by!  

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The same can be said for all of the other attendees.  The people I met I now consider friends.  We laughed together and cried together.  We are continuing to stay in touch and I’m so thankful to have a connection with all of them. Cliff's assistant Heather was also wonderful to work with.  She took such great care of us and ensured we were all comfortable and had amazing food. She really took care of us and then some!  She allowed us all into her office to watch her editing workflow!

I took away so much from this bootcamp.  I really can’t believe it was even an option for me... and that I waited so long to go for it!  If you are looking for your next opportunity to improve your photography, click here and book now.  You’ll be so glad that you did.

Thanks again Cliff!

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