Friday, November 25, 2011


Hey there friends. This will be a short post but I just wanted to bring up the idea of getting a specialization and sticking with it. I was speaking with a friend of mine and we were talking about the value of having a specialty instead of trying to be a "jack of all trades" so to speak. So my question to you is, " what do you think?". Is it more important to have a certain area that you specialize in? Is it a waste of time to attempt to master several fields or do you think it is possible? Comment below and let me know what you think. Until next time, keep shooting!! Here's talkin' at ya, Dave

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why do professional photographers charge so much?

Well my friends that is one heck of a loaded question huh?  Fact is, most people do think that we charge far too much and that there is no justification outside of a 1million dollar camera that would make our markup have to be so high.  Well, one of my favorite sites just posted an article written by a talented photographer by the name a David Buckley on this very subject.  It's not so much the article that I thought was brilliant, even though it was spot on with almost all of its' estimations and facts, but the site on which it was posted that I thought especially brilliant.  That's right, it is on the one and only  Here is the link for you to read but I just have one thing to say to mister Buckley.  Thank you sooooooo much for getting this posted on a talent site.  These people need to know exactly what they are getting into before they come and deal with us.  I am glad you put it out there my man.  Well, here is the link.  Please read it and comment here on what your favorite part is, or what you identify with the most, or what you think he missed.  Until next time my friends, keep shooting!

Here's talkin' at ya!!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Shoot now, Focus later.......?

So I was trolling through the interwebs when I came across an article that made me question what I thought I knew about photography.  The article was about a new product from a relatively new company named Lytro.  They have a camera out right now that, for all intents and purposes, will allow you to take a photo now, and then later during the editing process allow you to adjust where your point of focus is.  You heard me right.  You can actually change the way you focused the image.  From what I can gather from the company's website, and from the few articles I found on the product, the reason that this is a possibility is because this camera uses a technology called "light field" or "plenoptic".  How does this work you say.  Well, this camera is equipped with an 8x optical zoom lens that funnels light to an image sensor that is overlaid with a special array of micro lenses.  They gather an immense amount of data, i.e. how the light is reacting off of all the surfaces in the frame.  It then exports a .lfp (light field picture) file which holds all the data that then can be translated into interactive data by the light field engine inside the camera.  So far the software for this camera and these files is mac only but I am sure that it is only a matter of time before we start seeing it on the pc side as well. The camera looks more like a toy than a cutting edge photography tool.  The real question is when will this technology get put into all the DSLRs that we know and love, and will the advent of this new technology make we photographers ( an already dying breed) even more obsolete?

What do you think of this new technology?  What do you think it will mean for the photography world?  Leave your comments and questions for the forum in the comments section on this post, and as always, Keep Shooting!

Here's Talkin' at ya!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Choosing the right lens

Let's face it.  Camera bags are small and camera equipment is big.  Not that there aren't some very nice bags out there right now, but anyone with an extensive lens selection can tell you that sometimes there just isn't enough room for all your lenses on a job.  Of course we also have to think about the weight factor.  If you are wandering down a hiking trail or walking through the city, then you certainly do not want to be lugging around every lens you own just on the off chance you might need it.  This is why we need to be keenly aware of the capabilities and limitations of our equipment.  Some people don't have all their own equipment.  For those people, the decision of which lenses to bring is an even more crucial one for the fact that you are paying to rent them.  Also, the possibility exists that the school/friend/workplace that you are borrowing from has a limit on how many you may take.  That is why it is important to have at least a rough plan of what you intend to shoot when you leave.  If it is just a casual trip for fun and hopefully some good shots along the way, then the only thing you risk is the inconvenience of lugging along too much equipment.  If you are on the job however; there is much more at stake.

It is commonly accepted that any lens 35mm and below are considered "wide-angle", lenses 50-85mm, are generally considered as "normal" or "portrait" lenses, and Those above 85mm are usually referred to as "telephoto".  Now before I get chased through the town by an angry mob waving torches and pitchforks, it is important to note that I used the words, "generally" and "usually".  I realize that some people have been taught differently about what the proper nomenclature for certain focal length lenses is, but I am just using these definitions as a general guideline.  With that said, it is important to think about what you will need to shoot.  If you are going to be in close quarters with your subject, then it only makes sense to bring a "wider" lens.  If you are not going to be able to get close to your subject at all, then you must bring a "telephoto".  This part is not the part that most get wrong.  Most of us understand the difference between the different lenses. What most of us seem to forget all too often is that if we are not shooting on a "full-frame" camera (35mm equivalent), then we are going to have to deal with some sort of crop factor.  Now there are some lenses out there that are specifically designed for the crop sensor cameras but there are a great majority that are not.  So to help you with the conversions my friends, I have decided to post this handy dandy little chart.  Please feel free to copy it and save it for your own personal use and reference.

This image is from our friends at  They are a wonderful source for almost any question that you might have about digital photography.  With this chart, and a little forethought you should be able to make some well informed decisions about which lenses you will need to bring for your next job or outing.  Hopefully this will save you some lugging around equipment that you just won't use when you are out there.  As always my friends, it's been fun. Keep shooting!

Here's talkin' at ya!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Elephant in the Room 

So here's the thing.  We all know about it, we all avoid it like the plague, and yes, we all fear it.  It is a creative block.  You find yourself making good progress, getting on just fine then WHAM!! just like that the only motivation that you can seem to find is to wrangle your scruffy looking self out of the bed just in the nic of time so you don't wet it.  Ok, well maybe that is a little extreme of an example, but you know what I mean.  It happens to all of us at some point or another, and for more than just a few of us, it happens more than once.  The trick is not to let it dominate you.  Too often we find ourselves in a downward spiral of self-loathing because of our creative dry spells.  Of course this is a vicious cycle because as we rebuke ourselves for being so uncreative we are, in fact, KILLLING our creativity!  So first things first, don't be so hard on yourself.  Then, once you have managed to step back of the proverbial ledge and back into the comfyness of your studio, try a few of these ideas.

1.  Get all the horrible ideas out!!  Get a piece of paper and just write whatever comes to your head.  If you think about shooting hamsters out of a canon into a kiddie pool filled with pudding and photograph the splash then write it dow.............wait a minute, that one was pretty good.  You can't have that one. That one is mine!

2. Try shooting something you wouldn't normally shoot.  By doing this you will find that you have no real attachment to the subject and therefore will not look at it the same as you would something that you would normally shoot. 

3.  Ask someone you know to write a list of words for you and challenge yourself to make images that relate to the words.

4. Go on a walk/outing and only take one PRIME lens with you.  Then tell yourself that you can only take one picture the whole time.  Sometimes by giving your brain limitations you will provoke it into rebellion thereby causing ideas to start flowing throughout the walk.

I don't know if you've noticed but there is a trend here in almost all of my tips.  KEEP SHOOTING!!  I seriously cannot stress this enough.  Just like any other form of art photographers need to keep on doing what they do and push through times of creative famine.  If you allow yourself to stop shooting then you will only make it easier to make excuses to keep from shooting.  Don't let this happen!  Again, we have all been there and we all know that it is tough, but with some determination and some support from your fellow artisan you can overcome your drought fairly quickly.

I hope you liked today's post. Please comment with a time that  you suffered from creative block and how you got through it.  Post helpful hints or inspirational pictures.  Let everyone know what you did to get back on track, and who knows, maybe you will inspire someone else to get back on the horse and try again.  Until next time my friends, keep shooting!!

Here's talkin' at ya!


A new beggining

Hey there everyone! It is great to see you here on my, (Dave Mahan Photography's) blog spot.  I am very exited about starting this and I hope that you will get exited with me.  This blog's purpose is to educate, entertain, and unite artists and laymen alike.  Some of these posts will be very technical,( i.e. tutorials, how-to video links, ect.) and some will be more philosophical in nature and will make us think about the way we all interact with the world we live in.  In the future I will also be running contests and drawing for certain tasks so keep your eyes peeled for FREE STUFF!!  So check in, tell your friends, and let's have some fun together. 

Here's talkin' at ya,
Dave Mahan