One Hour Photo Featuring John Keatley

Lesson 1/4 - Student Q&A


One Hour Photo Featuring John Keatley


Lesson Info

Student Q&A

Welcome everybody to One Hour Photo. My name is John Greengo. We've got another hour of photography information for you here today. So what we're gonna be doing in this one hour is, first off, I have pulled 10 questions from all of you folks out there that I think might relate to more than that just one person. We're gonna go through these 10 questions and I'll give you the best answers that I can, and after that, we have special guest John Keatley in the studio. Great photographer, editorial, commercial, fine art work. We're gonna take a look at some of his photos and I'm gonna pepper him with some questions about his work, and I think we can hopefully learn a lot from him, so that's gonna be a great section, and then John's gonna stick around and help up critique some of your photos, and so these are photos that you have submitted into the student work gallery at the Fundamentals of Photography website, excuse me, page on the CreativeLive website, so we're gonna be looking at 10 of y...

our photos there, offering up suggestions of what we like or what we don't like and maybe what suggestions you can follow to help make your photos a little bit better the next time around. So let's go ahead and get started, and as I say, we're gonna get started with your questions, so let's roll out some photography questions from you. Alright, so our first question is, any advice for shooting our west, Grand Canyon area? I'm bringing a 10-18 wide angle lens, an 18-200, polarizer, graduated, I'm assuming a graduated neutral density there, polarizers, and there's the few NDs, and of course, a tripod. Is this too much? Am I missing anything? Is this too much? Are you kidding me? You should be going out there with a full truckload of gear. Well, that's what I do sometimes, but no, I think you're looking pretty good here. The 10-18 is gonna come in really nice 'cause there's a lot of big environments out there for the landscape photography. With the 10-18, I'm assuming you're shooting with an APSC crop-sensor camera, and so 10 millimeters get you down to that ultra-wide category, and that'll be a very useful lens in many cases. The 18-200 is one that you can leave on your camera probably most of the time. I don't see needing anything more than 200. There's just not that much you're gonna be using that big telephoto lens for. There's not a lot of wildlife out there, and so I think those two lenses are gonna serve you quite well. The polarizer is something that you're gonna use on a regular basis. In fact, you might just leave that on your camera almost the entire time. The graduated neutral density is also gonna be a very useful filter any time you're combining the land with the sky. You'll be able to darken the sky down to get everything within the exposure range of your camera, and so that's very good, and of course, you'll need that tripod, either on the mornings and evening shoots, or if you get into some of those slot canyons. They can be very, very dark in there. You won't need the tripod a lot in the middle of the day if you're out kind of hiking in normal sunshine. There's just so much light out there. And so no, I don't think that's too much. It depends on who you're going out there with, and what the purpose of your trip is, and how much photography is a part of that, but I think you're looking pretty good there and I think you're set up for a great trip and I wish you the best of luck. Next, I was born without a right hand. Every DSLR that I look at has a big grip on the right side, but I would need one on the left. Do you know of any brand that would be kinder to lefties of the world? Well, I've had a number of requests from people who either are left-handed or have special needs of this and nobody to my knowledge has made a left-handed camera. I've seen maybe there might've been some prototypes, and the two solutions that I have seen out there, and one of them's not that common these days, but that was a pistol grip that some people could put on the bottom tripod mount of their camera. You could grab that with either your left hand very easily, and if the shutter release was correctly hooked up, you'd have the half-press for the focusing and then the full-press for taking a picture, and so you might look for a pistol grip to see if there's anything being made out there these days. It might need to be something on the order of custom-made, but it's possible. The other option is that there's a lot of cameras that have vertical grips designed for holding the camera vertically, but if you want, you can kinda hold those on the left hand. You end up holding the camera upside down and it's a little bit awkward, but at least you can grip the camera with your left hand. And so, challenging situation, and I don't know if they'll ever make a left-handed camera, but take a look at those two options and see if they can help you out. John, have you ever used the Lansbaby Velvet or other Lensbaby lenses and what is your opinion of them? So for those of you who are not familiar with the Lensbaby lenses, they are inexpensive, for the most part. They're kind of these cheap, fun little lenses that do a number of different, unique things, and the original Lensbaby was all about focusing in a small, central area, and everything else was out of focus, so it was a selective focus. So if you had a person on one side of the image, you could tilt the lens, they would be in focus, and everything else would be out of focus, but if a way that was much different than a normal lens, and so it definitely lended a unique look to your images. I haven't used the Velvet 56, but I have had a Lensbaby before, and I had one kind of as a loner item for probably about six to nine months, and it's small, it's lightweight, it's not much money, it's pretty good if you just want a different look to something, but I found that it just wasn't me. I brought it out, I took it on a bunch of different trips, I tried it, and I just decided it wasn't me, and some people love them, 'cause they want that distinctive look. Some people go through phases on them. A funny little story is I used to work in a rental department for gear, and there was a very popular group of people that rented Lensbabys, and you could almost just see who the person was. You'd see, okay, we got another rental for the Lensbaby. Who's this gonna be? And for the most part, it tended to be women between the ages of 20 and 35 who were shooting weddings, and for some reason, that group of people really got into that look, and it allowed them to shoot portraits that had a unique look. It's not that unique in the photography world, but for the clients, it definitely provided a unique look at not too much money. And so it's something you may wanna play around with to see if that's really your thing or not. I have a Nikon D7000 and want to upgrade. Which is better, Sony a6500 or Sony A7II? This is a tricky question to answer because I don't know what you are trying to do in your photography, I don't know what your budget is. Just on the question, as it stands right now, the Sony A7II is a higher resolution... Let's see, it has a high resolution... No, it's the same resolution, but it is a full-frame sensor compared to a crop-frame sensor, so it's technically the better camera. Now, is it really the better camera for you? Maybe, maybe not. The Sony A7II is gonna require more expensive lenses that are much larger in size, and so if you said that you were doing travel photography and you like to bicycle travel and being lightweight is very important, or you had a bad back, or you didn't like lifting up heavy cameras, then the a6500 would be better. And this is a common problem when people are asking questions about equipment. What is better, this or that? It really depends on what you are doing, and so I have a hard time answering these questions because I wanna get you the best gear for what you're doing, and if I don't know what you're doing, it's kinda hard to recommend something. They're both really good cameras that are very, very capable. The 6500 would be my choice if I was into travel photography. Also might be my choice if I was into sports or wildlife photography because of the telephoto capabilities and the advanced focusing system on it. If I was into portrait or landscape photography, probably the Sony A7II. Alright, I need to get a new computer, install Lightroom, and download my pictures. Okay, well that's a good start. Could you give me recommendations on type or specs for a computer to use for my photos? Well, I think almost any computer is gonna do the job these days. Macs and PCs both are running with enough RAM power and processing power that they're gonna handle all these normal files from normal cameras. Now, if you're gonna get into a 50 megapixel camera or greater, then you're gonna need to look in at getting maybe either more memory or faster processing on your computer, but for your most cameras, most computers are gonna be able to handle it. Now, one of the key things for anybody getting into photography is that you do not wanna store your photos on your computer. Photos take up a lot of space in general and they're gonna clog up and slow down any computer you have, and so you're gonna have to put together some sort of external hard drive system, and it could be very, very simple. You can have one external hard drive, which is where your photos are stored, and when you wanna access, and download, and work with them, you plug that in. Now, because all hard drives will fail eventually, you should have a backup, and ideally, you should have a backup to that stored in an offsite location in case something happens right here with your computer. And so there is a little bit to get setup there. I don't think you need to be too much worried about your computer. I use Apple Mac. I know people who use PCs. I know there's fanboys of both clubs, and frankly, they're both gonna work just fine these days, but make sure you get yourself setup with some hard drives so that your photos are stored safely in that regard. I travel a lot and it's very cumbersome to carry my full-frame Nikon system. What is your opinion of switching to the Fuji X-T2? Nikon is too bulky for travel and I don't see them coming up with a mirrorless anytime soon. Okay, so yes, Nikon and mirrorless, they do have their little one system, we'll let that be aside for the moment. I don't know if Sony's gonna come out with a mirrorless system or not. I'm sure they've been working on something and they're just kind of waiting to see when they might want to release something. So if you are currently using a Nikon system and the full-frame system is a bit too big to travel, I can understand that, the X-T2 is a smaller camera and the lenses are smaller, and I do have to admit, I am a big fan of Fuji. I think they are doing a lot of things right. They're not perfect, trust me, they're not perfect, but the X-T2 has very good image quality. It's got good 4K video on there if you wanna shoot video as well when you're traveling, and you could travel with a two, three, or four lens package system with Fuji and reduce the size of your camera bag probably by about 30%. And so I think it's a great choice. I'm not a big fan of switching, just 'cause there's a lot of money in switching, but if you did wanna save bulk and weight, I'm a big fan of that Fuji X-T2. If you had to pick between a 5DS and the Mark IV, which would you choose and why? Well, I'm glad you asked this, because I have been owning a 5DS for almost the last year, and I recently purchased the 5D Mark IV, and the 5DS is a great camera, it's a nice upgrade in many ways to the 5D Mark III, and I originally bought the 5DS because I did a test and I did a test that no one else that I know had done, is I shot the 5DS at its medium resolution of 28 megapixels and I wanted to see if it surpassed the Canon 5D Mark III, and in the test that I did, it did surpass it, and so that was enough for my standard shoots, and if I wanted to, I could throw it into turbo mode, get it up to 50 megapixels, and I would have a 50 megapixel camera, which is nice, but the thing that I didn't like about the 5DS is it's a little bit on the slow side. Those 50 megapixel files are fairly large and it wasn't killing me, but it was just kinda something that I didn't really like that much. The 5D Mark IV has got a number of really nice new features on it, and it fits more of my style of shooting. And so you asked me which would I choose, and so that's why I'm answering this question for me. Now, for which one's better for you, it really depends on what you're doing, but mostly, the 5DS is gonna be for people who are gonna be printing large. If you're not printing large, the 5D Mark IV is probably gonna make a better camera. One of the things that I noticed about the 5DS is that you do get a fair bit of noise once you start getting above ISO 800, depending on how large you print your images and so forth, and the new 5D Mark IV is much, much better at low-light work, much better for action. It's a much better general purpose camera. And this does bring up kind of another question, and that is, how many megapixels do you need and is there a limit as to where we are going? I have no doubt technology is bringing us into more and more pixels in the future, but there is a point of diminishing returns, and there's a point of limitations of everything else. If you have a 5DS, you better make sure that every lens in your arsenal is really the top-of-the-line lens. You're not gonna be able to afford to have any of those cheap lenses in there because then you're not getting that 50 megapixel quality from it. And so it's just something that you're gonna have to raise your standards on everything you do. You might need to be using a tripod a lot more often because every little bit of movement is gonna be more clearly seen in an image with 50 megapixels. Does one need power converters in Cuba? Alright, so I'm assuming you're asking because I go to Cuba on a regular basis. You do not need power converters, so long as the charger for you equipment, whatever that is, the computer, your cameras, can handle the standard worldwide voltage, which I believe is 120-240, and so what you do need is a plug adapter, because they will sometimes have the tow flat plugs that we use here in the United Sates, but for the most part, they use the two round plugs, which is very common in Europe. But because it's a developing country and the standards are a little bit loose from one place to another, east coast to west coast, you probably wanna get one of those universal adapters that can fit a number of different plug ends, but mostly, you just need the two round plug ends, and if your charger says 120-240 on it, it can handle the voltage from that full range coming through any converter. And so nope, don't need it, but you do need those plug convertors. What are the best lenses for portrait photography for a Nikon D750? And he's actually getting two questions in here. And what would be the best lighting equipment for portrait: continuous lighting or strobes? Alright, let's go for the first part of this. Best lenses for portrait photography for a D750. I did a class on Nikon lenses, and in the class, I wanted to compare all the lenses available for shooting portraits, and we shot everything down to a 14 millimeter up to an 800 millimeter, and when you say portraits, I'm thinking, you know, head-and-shoulder type portrait, and using the different lenses really changes the shape of the face, how much of the face you can see, and my determination was everything from about 70 millimeters up to looked really good, and so the 70-200 2.8 lens is super popular with a lot of portrait photographers because it gives them pretty much everything they need in that range at a pretty fast aperture of f2.8. Now, some people really get into particular focal lengths, or they'll wanna shoot with an even faster aperture, so the 85 1.8, the 85 1.4 lenses are kinda the classic favorite of most portrait photographers. Nikon recently introduced the 105 1.4, which is a shot put of lens, okay? It's pretty big and it's very heavy, but it looks to be a beautiful lens that has beautiful extreme bokeh, that's the out-of-focus area, and so the 85 and are gonna be really popular fixed focal length lenses, but the 70-200 2.8 is gonna be one of those general purpose, something that a wedding photographer would have, and they're gonna choose that over some of the fixed focal lengths in many cases because they're dealing with so many different situations. Sometimes they're inside, sometimes they're outside. They don't have control over the environment. Somebody working in a studio or who really knows a lot about their setups is more likely to choose their prime focal length. So you can go with zoom or prime, but look for any of those lenses that I just mentioned. Alright, what would be the best lighting equipment for portrait: the continuous lighting or a strobe? I'm not a lighting expert, but there are two different types of lighting. The continuous lighting, like here is the studio, we have these continuous lights on right now 'cause we're shooting video, but you also have the option of shooting strobes, and one of the big advantages of strobes is that they are much more powerful. And so continuous lighting is nice for smaller objects or close-in, but the problem is it's not that bright, so you may need to be raising up your ISO, you may need to be using faster lenses. When you have strobe equipment, if you were shooting multiple people or you're working in a larger environment, you can have that... Those strobes need to be back further. They need to be 10 or 20 feet back. They're gonna have the power, and so this is gonna determine what type of shooting you're doing and how big an area you have. And so if I was doing a lot of portraits, I would probably wanna be shooting with strobes in most cases, because they're gonna stop the movement. They fire very, very quickly, and so you're gonna have fast shutter speeds, but the light's gonna be turning on and off very, very quickly, so it's gonna stop subtle little movements that might be going on in there. And so I'm gonna stick with strobe lighting. I do use continuous lighting for some things and strobe lighting for other things, but I'm gonna with portraits, I would stick with strobes.

Class Description

Click here to ask John Greengo your questions for future One Hour Photos!

Every month, John gives you an hour of expert guidance and immediate feedback with ten questions and ten critiques in this exciting new series we're calling One Hour Photo. John will also sit down with one guest photographer to offer insights, advice, and industry knowledge, and this month's guest is John Keatley.

In this hour, John responds to questions about shooting around the Grand Canyon area, a camera suitable for left-handed people, Lensbaby lenses, the benefits of mirrorless cameras, and lens recommendations for portraits.

John Keatley is a well-known commercial photographer based in Seattle, WA. He often self-characterizes his work as a reflection of himself, rather than the individual he is photographing. In recent years, his journey of self-discovery has brought clarity to emotions that have always been present yet were previously unknown. Anxiety. Fear. Isolation. Not Being In Control. Keatley capitalizes on the correlation between these emotions and humor. It is a fine line, sitting in the pain of the emotion and understanding that pain can also be humorous. Yet John beautifully executes this dichotomy in his work, as the viewer is invited to stay a moment longer and ponder the unexpected. Check out his CreativeLive class here.