Mamiya 645 Pro

This year I shifted gears after buying the Hasselblad 500CM and really focused on film. I sold my Fuji XT1 and went full analog. It was more of a personal choice rather than client driven. I love the 500CM but in all honesty I did miss shooting in other aspect ratios, and besides, who can resist buying another fun camera. I searched for a few weeks and landed on a pristine Mamiya 645 Pro from Japan. It got here and it was flawless. Popped in some batteries and film and I was off to shooting. I was initially interested in the 645 AF but for the price difference I don't mind manual focus, especially since this is mainly a stills and portrait camera. Plus I still like the challenge and connection I have with the camera when manually focusing. 

Mamiya 645 Pro with grip and wrist strap. 

Mamiya 645 Pro with grip and wrist strap. 

The one accessory that does make this camera great and a touch modern is the auto winder. It winds the film and advances the film to the next frame after a shot. As it does add weight, it does provide a nice grip for the hand when shooting and the camera feels nice and balanced. It also allows for easier vertical shots, where as before it was a bit awkward. The second feature why I got this camera is it's auto metering viewfinder. This makes a world of difference and gives me a great balance between digital and analog. It has three metering modes and I must say they all work very well. They speed up my set up time which is a huge benefit over the Hasselblad. Saves me a lot of time especially when I'm just walking around and want a portrait of a random person or object. With the Hasselblad I need to tell them to hold on, take a meter reading then adjust camera then confirm and take the shot. So far with this auto metering I haven't yet had an under or over exposed image.  

Mamiya 645 with 80mm macro

Mamiya 645 with 80mm macro

The current lens on the camera is the 80mm F4 Macro and when I thought at first it wouldn't be ideal for most situations it was surprisingly versatile. I can get super close to subjects and it produces wonderful depth. It's razor sharp, although it does take a little getting used to with it's split screen focusing screen. However, I tend to just find a hard edge and line that up and I'm good to go. For wider subjects like street and landscape it is actually not terrible, although I will probably look for a wider lens in the future. Remember even though it's an 80mm it's almost cut into half to a 45-50mm considering the medium format film size. All in all this a great camera and can be had for a reasonable price if you hunt on Ebay. Most come from Japan and are flawless in their condition. I would definitely recommend anyone who wants a budget friendly medium format film camera to take a look at the 645 Pro.   

Here are some recent shots I've taken and developed with the camera. Enjoy! 

Take Your Own ENGAGEMENT Photos!! A can do attitude!

Planning a wedding can be tedious, stressful, confusing, and probably, most importantly, costly on the pocket book. One way to have fun with your soon to be bride or groom is to alleviate the stresses and spend a fun filled day together out in the city, or maybe the mountains, or a place you both consider romantic. Not only spend the day together but bring along a few simple tools to take your own engagement photos! Now I'll admit it, I have over 8 years in the photography industry, some hobby and some working professionally on many different projects, however taking your own photos is not as daunting as it may seem. I will give some helpful tips and tricks to follow and you can achieve similar results. Let's get started!   

Selfie time! Actually I'm using my phone to control my camera shutter remotely!

THE GEAR! So I used to believe the more $$ the camera the better it is. While that is still true somewhat today, most decent consumer "non professional" cameras on the market are packed with megapixels and features. I will break it down.

THE CAMERA: Fuji Xt1 camera. Fuji 18-55mm f2.8-4  Tripod: Any sturdy tripod will do, however make sure when fully extended it's sturdy and wont tip over (some of very cheaply made) and a smart phone that allows you to download the Fuji app in my case or a wireless shutter remote that works for your camera brand. That's literally it! 

My fiance and I strike a pose while I control the camera with my phone behind me!

For the camera, it can be any type honestly, and whatever your budget fits. I like to buy used as long as it's from a reputable company locally or online. KEH, Adorama, and B&H Photo are all awesome sites that have used gear and offer warranties with them. I bought my XT1 right after the XT2 came out and got a great deal on it!. Fuji, Sony, Nikon and Canon are all great brands, however Sony and Fuji are stepping ahead of the game in the tech and features department and being mirrorless, they offer a much more compact option. 

I would also recommend something that you can change the lenses on but it's not totally needed, just givesyou more options down the road. At the end I'll have a few recommended cameras that are of different styles. 

A peaceful yet productive Saturday afternoon. 

Just dancing on the sidewalk... No big deal! 

THE PLAN: I would highly recommend doing a bit of recon where you plan to take photos. You don't necessarily have to know every single spot but know the area and always have a backup plan! We choose an urban environment for we felt it would give us many different looks and have more areas to explore as apposed to a rural or even mountainous environment. Do some research too! Agree on the look you want and research on the shots other people have done then replicate that with your own flair! I also planned for the shoot to take longer than it actually did. Typically with your own photographer he or she will tell you how to pose, what to do and you can knock out a shoot in 2-3 hours. We took slightly longer, about 5-6 hours total. This did include a few breaks but we still managed our time wisely. Time used for setting up the shot on the tripod, different poses, walking around other parts of the city all take up more time so plan for that!

TOP TIPS: Check the weather too! May be overlooked but make sure you know when you are heading out that the weather is great for the whole day. You can also bring a few different outfits to do a wardrobe change mid session if you would like. Bring a small bag to use for snacks, water, and miscellaneous things if needed or just take a break grab a coffee, snacks or some bloody marry's, on a break!

Most importantly have fun! Make the day stress free and what you want!

When it comes down to it these are your photos and they should reflect you both individually and as a couple. Don't get caught up in a million different details and that every single shot has to be perfect or else the day is ruined. Communicate with each other in the look you want. Bounce ideas of each other and make them work. Some ideas don't work but experiment and find out. Remember two minds are better than one! 

ONE FINAL THOUGHT: Now you may ask yourself... But I'm not a pro photographer or don't have the experience like you. How can I even come close to getting shots like that! Don't sell yourself short. Patience and knowing you can do it is half the battle. Make sure you are in good light, a super bright sunny day is not ideal, unless it's early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun starts to go down, overcast is actually the best because it diffuses the light and doesn't cast harsh shadows. Try NOT to use the on camera flash. This will create a weird look and in my opinion not as professional looking. Natural light is your friend. Shoot your photos in RAW format and on the maximum file setting. This will allow you to extract the most info out of your images for the best results later on. I recommend Adobe Lightroom CC for editing. It makes adjusting the photos very easy. You can download a free trial from Adobes website and edit the photos and never have to pay for it... unless you want to use it after 30 days. Lastly, most cameras these days as I mentioned have oodles of megapixels, however try to at least find something that is over 12. Anything beyond that is honestly overkill for amateur photography. With 12 you will be able to post them online easily, and make decent size prints for your friends and family.

RECOMMENDED CAMERAS: Fuji XT1, Sony A6000. Those are my two top cameras I would suggest. And honestly for the $$ I would go with the Sony. It already comes with a lens. It's higher megapixels and it's smaller. Both offer features too where you can send the pictures to your phone which is great for social media uploading. 

Well although a bit lengthy, I hope I covered a decent amount to enable you to get some great photos! If there are more questions feel free to email me or comment and I can help with answering anything. Happy Shooting! 

People Of NYC

I was in NYC for a few days during New Years and I went out with the FUJI XT1 and focused on street and people shots. Shot a little bit of everything, kept it clean and simple with Black and White