Why You Shouldn’t Embrace Randomness Too Much in Photography

Basically: If you have no clear direction or bigger vision // photos don’t have as much meaning. 

You can get in a cycle of shooting random people, things, and places with no clear meaning behind the photos. For me, it turned into a game to take photos, post to social media and observe the engagement or how many views it got. 

The end goal (WAY TO FIND MEANING) may be to think of your photographic life in longer term projects // like how a musician sees an album. A well thought out (COHESIVE) album is something to admire. Imagine if your favorite musician was only allowed to make radio singles. I would imagine (IF THEY ARE A TRUE CREATIVE TALENT) the artist would feel constrained and unfulfilled. 

In the world of photographic art/entrepreneurship, you are free to post whatever you want. Therefore, posting for other people is essentially like giving yourself a self imposed artistic block. If you are able to get out of the instant gratification cycle, then you are free’d up to think about and look through your photos for longer period of time to create a more meaningful photography life. 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 It can be hard to not feel pressure to post the latest and greatest to social, or create some sort of media content that leads to immediate gratification. I’ve found that posting photos to IG for likes // or posting gear videos to youtube for views // is no sort of END GOAL. Likes have no inherent value when you’re long gone and no one cares what a photo was taken on if it is GOOD. If I see a photo that is truly great in my eyes, I admire the creative vision or work ethic that it took to get the shot.💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 💥 

Why have social media then? Well, the key is to free yourself from the numbers and post whatever you feel like, whenever you feel like it. 

AND when you are finished with your photography project, you’ll want it to live everywhere – so post it EVERYWHERE. 


In Praise of Randomness in Photography

I embraced randomness in photography for many years. 

The good parts of shooting photos without any planned direction or bigger project vision:

  • It’s fun to go out and challenge yourself to see if you can make interesting compositions // similar to a real life video game.
  • It’s a way to get a few rounds on a new lens or camera to see what the pictures look like.
  • It gets you out making work. I can be a HUGE procrastinator due to feeling like I don’t have the perfect scenario/location/people to make photos. Allowing myself to shoot whatever I feel like that day (or whatever comes along) gets me out of the procrastination dilemma.

Best Flash for Sony A7iii

I don’t use much flash these days, but the Godox TT350S is by far my favorite flash for the Sony system. Whether you are shooting an a7 iii, a7riii, or a9–this flash is awesome! Heres why. 

Great TTL

TTL (automatic setting) is essential if you are working events. People move back and forth too quickly to make manual adjustments based on how far away they are from the flash.  I had a bad time using ETTL/TLL functions on certain 3rd party flash systems before I found the Godox TT350S. Pictures would come out under or over exposed frequently. The TT350S hits a nice middle exposure with ease, which is my preferred flash exposure. I can always batch process my photos in Lightroom to make them a little brighter if I want. The important thing is that they are all in the same exposure range. 

Wireless

The wireless transmission of this flash comes in handy if you want to use one (or two) off camera. The TT350S allows for slave/master function, and you can even turn off the flash function of the one on camera. The features are relatively easy to navigate too. 

Two Batteries

It’s really nice that this flash only uses two batteries. My wedding photography kit is a little smaller, since I don’t have to haul around quite so many extra AA’s. 

Lightweight

This flash is about half the weight as a regular sized flash. Of course, it means that it has less power, but I haven’t found it to be an issue with the great high ISO performance of the Sony iii series cameras. You can boost your ISO instead of turning your flash up–it usually makes for better pictures anyway. Having a lightweight flash on a mirrorless camera is really nice, because if you start adding big accessories it starts to feel like you are shooting a DSLR again. 

Well, this was a little bit of a short one, but all these things I mentioned are what matters to me most in a flash system in 2019! 

I think I had a little too much fun this wedding season using the Godox TT350S at receptions. 


Here’s to making receptions a little easier to work with a cheap, lightweight, reliable flash! 


-Nick


Minimalist A7iii Wedding Kit

My kit is pretty small these days. Just a few years ago my wedding kit consisted of six lenses. As I developed my style more and found my lens preferences, I wanted to get rid of the clutter. My wedding kit is now down to just two lenses and a backup lens. 

Sony A7iii X2 - These cameras are all I need. Great autofocus, low light performance, IBIS, and 15 stops of dynamic range. They have just enough megapixels too. The video features are also great for my needs. They keep me from needing a second camera system for video work. 

Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 - This lens is extremely light and feels great on the a7iii body. I love the sharpness and color rendition of the Zeiss Batis line. 

Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 - Hands down my favorite lens for Sony. It’s magical wide open. While its a little heavier then the Batis 25mm, it’s still extremely light for an 85mm f/1.8. 

Sony FE 50mm f1.8 Lens - This lens is used exclusively as a backup. Just in case. 

Aputure AL-M9 LED - This video light is small and great for adding a little fill at wedding receptions. It pairs great with the A7iii’s great high iso performance

Godox TT350S Flash X2 - My use of flash is minimal these days, but it comes in handy for indoor groups and late night dancing. 

Yongnuo YN216 LED X2 - These are great if the first dance lighting is a little flat and I need to add backlight. I have them on gorilla pods and attach them to the DJ’s speaker stands. 

Yongnuo YN360 LED - This light is great for dark getting ready rooms. It’s also handy when using your assistant as a moving light stand. 

Hoya 72mm HMC Close-Up Filter Set II - I used to carry around a big macro lens, but found that I used it less and less. These filters come in handy for couples who request a ring shot. Something I don’t do that much. Just in case. 


That’s it! That’s all I bring to a wedding. I find that some photographers like to have many options, but this kit really helps me focus on the important stuff–AKA taking great pictures! 


-Nick