My name's Tom. I like to take pictures.
I'm looking to continue learning and thought to make a blog of my efforts (failures and successes - yes, failures is underlines). I'm thinking sharing what I do will help me truly think about what I did and learn from any mistakes or further ingrain what I did correctly.
I'm not 100% new to the game, with two years of learning my DSLR under my belt. Here's what I'm currently working with:

  • Canon 6D Mark II (splurged with a work bonus early this year)
  • Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art series lens (just picked this bad boy up 6/7/18 after trading in my APS-C wide angle, so it's still quite new to me)
  • Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L (sweet eBay grab)
  • Tamron SP AF XR Di 28-75mm f/2.8 (I think I got all the acronyms in the name) 
  • Yongnuo YN50 f/1.8 (el cheapo, but decent quality for a prime 50mm)
  • Two Yongnuo YN560 IV speedlights with the YN560-TX controller
  • One Yongnuo YN685 speedlight (fancier than the 560 with ETTL action)
I'm still learning the 6D II, along with the Sigma and Tamron lenses. The YN685 is also new-ish and I do not have a firm grasp on everything it's capable of.

What I like to photograph is the outdoors. I love exploring the many metro parks in the Columbus area and photographing nature or, really, anything outside. Animals, scenery, patterns, (sometimes) people - I like to photograph it all. Just a small taste of some recent pics:

My ultimate goal is to get this hobby to pay for itself. I want to use what skills I have along with my perspective and vision to have photos worth buying on the market and talent worth paying for (for product/portrait/or any kind of shoot).
There are a few steps I know I need to take in order to make the goal a reality:

  1. Continue learning (always) - this just keeps it fun and interesting!
  2. Network - with other photographers, businesses, and models (for contacts and opportunities!)
  3. Just get out and do it - take a risk, take a job. As long as I have resources to help out if needed, it'll all be fine
I'll start with number one, as it relates to the blog. I need a bit of a portfolio to reach that third step and continuing to learn will help there. 

What do I continue to learn, though? Product photography! Having some good examples under my belt here helps get me thinking about composition, as well as working with lighting on potentially difficult objects. Here are a few things I've tried in the past (within the last ~6 months)

The eraser was my first test with a product I had up in my attic. I sat it on a reflective board actually thought I lit it pretty well. The box isn't ideal since it's a bit dinged up, but it was a pretty good first attempt, I think. The Guinness is another story. Appropriately taken on St Paddy's day (2018), I did not do a great job controlling harsh lights on the bottle, cutting off some of the the text in places (no bueno). The pour was pretty cool, though! The last is the B:Assmaster bass overdrive pedal (great piece of equipment). I did a similar edit as the eraser box, taking colors from the box to make a background in post.
One thing all three have in common is I shot them on the reflective board. While not necessary, it does add a nice, clean look to the products if they're shot without any particular scene. Evaluating now, I think the Expo box is, overall, the best, followed by the pedal, and then the Guinness. The pedal was just a bit of a hasty test of speedlights (and so there were some undesirable shadows), and the Guinness didn't reign them in. The Expo box was nice, well lit, with no glare.

Where does this all lead me? Well, I have a friend who makes her own jewelry, and I'm tasked with getting some clear photos for an online store. I've taken some cool outdoor/scene shots, but my first round of indoor ones were hit with what plagued my Guinness photos - undesirable glare! My next post will be how I overcome that issue.


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