Blog Post

Photo Tip - What I carry In My Bag


Scott’s Bi-Weekly Photo Tip

Hi everyone, hope you are having a great week. I’m always being asked what I use or what I take with me, so this week I’m going to go through what I carry in my bag every time I go out, whether its for Portrait Sessions or Landscapes, you’ll always see these items in my back.

I have 2 camera bags, a larger Tamrac bag that I bought many years ago, and a much smaller Alturo bag that I picked up a couple of years ago before Pam and I headed out west for a road trip. I lean towards travelling as light as possible, even when doing portraits close to home, so I rarely use my larger Tamrac these days.

I always have my bag packed and ready to go. These items are a staple of my bag:

  • Microfiber cloth - I have a few packs of these as they are invaluable for a multitude of reasons.

  • Spare Memory Cards - My primary camera has dual memory card slots so I have redundancy there, but I always have a spare in the bag just in case.

  • Backup camera - I shoot everything with my Sony A7Riii, but in my bag, charged and ready to go is my Sony A6300 just in case. It is no where near a comparison of the A7Riii, but it’ll get the job done in a pinch if something drastic were to happen.

  • Spare batteries - I have great results with my Sony cameras and their batteries. They do not kill a battery through multiple sessions, so normally I’m in the clear. On super cold days I’ll always find the batteries drain faster of course, and you never know what might happen, so I always have at least 1 space (fully charged) batter for each of my 2 cameras.

  • (2) Head Lamps - You just never know. I have thought I would never use these and they have come in handy so many times I’ll never go without.

  • Lenses - I usually carry my 10-18mm wide angle and my 24-70 2.8 lenses with me. Sometimes I’ll take my 70-200 2.8 if I know I need a little ready or for portraits, but rarely these days.

  • Filters - I do have some neutral density and polarizing filters that I take along in case I want to do long exposures in a brighter setting. I honestly don’t have the use for them much anymore since my A7Riii can go to ISO 50.

And that’s about it. Light and nimble is my motto. Of course, if I’m going to do landscape photos them I’m carrying along my carbon fiber tripod as well, but I can easily attach that to my backpack and through it on my shoulders and hike as long as I want.

What are the must haves that you want in your bag every day?

Don’t forget to check out my workshops and classes to learn more about photography. We have so many different ones to offer and they are always a great time.

Have a great night.


Blog Post

Photo Tip - At Least Two of Everything!


Scott’s Bi-Weekly Photo Tip

Good evening everyone, thanks for checking out my blog. Now that 2019 is going strong we have reworked a few things. I’ll be doing bi-weekly public photo critiques and bi-weekly Photo Tips that alternate. So one week you’ll see me to critiques and the following week I’ll post a tip.

All of the photo tips are things that I teach in my classes and/or private lessons. Most are things I’ve done or noticed through my many years of shooting, and each should help you in some way. They will be short and sweet most of the time. I welcome any questions on any of the social media platforms or on here, comments are allowed.

This Photo Tip is titled “At Least Two of Everything”, and I mean everything.

When you go out to shoot, make sure you have extra everything, ready to go. I have learned my lesson so many times, getting there and not having cards, or the cold zaps my batter and I didn’t bring a second one. You just never know what will happen, so do your best to be prepared.

I’ll start with some items that I make sure I at least double up on each time I go out.

Memory Cards - Memory cards can break very easily, no matter what type you have. I have been instances where I’m shooting away and suddenly I get a message that my card is corrupt. Ouch, that one hurt. At the time it wasn’t for client related work so I was okay, but I learned my lesson. Now I not only bring multiple cards but throughout my shoot I also switch the cards out so if one crashes I don’t lose everything. My latest camera actually has two card slots so I have each photo writing to both cards for redundancy.

Batteries - This is a no brainer, but you would be surprised as to how many people don’t have backups. You should have a fully charged backup at all times, but especially if it is cold. The cold will zap your batteries very quickly.

Flashlights - When I go out before sunrise or after sunset I usually have a headset to light my way. What happens if that dies? I always have two just in case.

Tripod - If you are out taking landscape photos, especially long exposures, then you MUST be using a tripod. If you are in a position that you have to use a tripod, then always bring a spare. I have had people show up at workshops and their tripod breaks. Luckily I usually hand them mine, but if I didn’t have one then they would be lost.

These are just a few things to think about before you walk out the door There are many more, but these are always on my mind.

Don’t forget to check out my workshops and classes to learn more about photography. We have so many different ones to offer and they are always a great time.

Have a great night.


Blog Post

5 Reason Why Your Photos Suck

We’ve all been in there. You like a photo that you took, but it’s not getting the reaction on social media that you thought it would. Why? Is it that they don’t know a good photo when they see one? I mean this thing belongs in a gallery!!! 

Well....cupcake...perhaps your photo sucks. 

I am the first person to stand on a soapbox and say that social media has become the worst enemy for photography simply because even the worst photos get likes and loves. Really? Trust me, if you have friends you could put up a photo with someone’s head half cut off and the photo off weight and you’ll still get likes. So how does a photo not get likes if that is the case? Well here are 5 things that you can look at to determine if your photo sucks. Feel free to use this as a guide for looking at other photos as well 😊


Reason 1 - Bad Lighting 

Lighting is one of two critical components to a photo, so it goes without saying that it could easily be a contributing factor to suckage. Is the subject dark? Is the subject too bright? Are there weird and distracting shadows? All great things to think about when shooting.


Reason 2 - Shooting at the wrong time of day

This ties in to Reason 1 above, but when are you shooting your outdoor photos? If you say in the middle of the day then you are shooting in bad light (unless it is cloudy). A clear blue sky during mid day will give you the worst light of the day. Over exposed highlights and far too dark shadows because the sun’s light is so intense. The contrast kills you. How many portrait sessions have you had where the photographer chooses 1pm on Saturday? Hmmm. Why not go have a picnic or a walk and come back a few hours later when the sun is going down and the light is much much better.  


Reason 3 - Too much Photoshop 

Photoshop is a tool, just like your camera and lens. It can be used too much however. A good photo, unless you are doing compositions, will have very minimal, and hardly noticeable edits to it. Slight sharpness tweak, slight vignette, maybe a tiny white balance correction. They don’t take away from the photo you took, but enhance it a bit.  

Addition-faking a blurred background by using the blur tool in Photoshop looks horrible and is very easy to notice. If you don’t know how to do it in the camera then learn it (see Reason 4 below) 


Reason 4 - You’re trying to impress others

You feel great because you got 25 likes and a comment that you are an amazing photographer on your first photo posting on Facebook. Now it’s go time. So instead of staying within your skill level you decide to go for the gusto and hit the high and hard stuff. You are a great photographer, remember, you can do anything. Let’s charge money, let’s offer every type of service, etc. etc. 

This choice will more than likely kill your photos. Everyone is learning at photography, no matter what skill level you are at. I always recommend getting good where you are at before moving up a notch in the difficulty scale. A good rule of thumb is if you don’t know how hard a type of shot is then you are not ready for it. Research research research. Do your homework. Definitely challenge yourself but arm yourself with everything that you can beforehand.  


Reason 5 - blur or out of focus

With the extremely advanced cameras that we have today, it is extremely painful to see a photo posted of something blurry (if it wasn’t intended to be). A sharp photo brings in people’s attention. Maybe you were out of focus, maybe it’s motion blur, either way don’t post it because it sucks!  


These are just a handful of a thousand reasons why your photos might suck. Take a closer look, not just your photos, but those posted by others as well. Can you see some of the things that I point out? I bet so. 


If if you have any questions about your photos, need a critique, whatever, shoot me a message. I am happy to help. 


You may want to look into attending one of my Photo101 classes as well. I teach lighting and composition to help you take far better photos, with any type of camera. I have classes registering right now! Just check out my Classes section.  


Take care, have fun, enjoy photos.