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Category: Sigma Pro
04.21.2014

How to utilize 5 lenses for a boudoir shoot

The area around the bed is very tight in my studio so I almost always use the 50mm. It allows me to get full body shots and close up shots with ease.  © 2014 Jen Rozenbaum | Lens: 50mm | Aperture: F3.5 | Shutter speed: 1/125 sec

There is one question that is asked of me most often when I am teaching photography. That question is “Which lens is your favorite”? That’s such a terribly difficult question for me to answer. Lenses are like children, I love them all and hate to play favorites.

All kidding aside, I carry 5 lenses with me everywhere I go. Sigma’s 35mm F1.4, 50mm F1.4, 85mm F1.4, 24-70mm F2.8 and the 70-200mm F2.8. Most of my boudoir shoots are done in studio. My studio is very small (about 10’x10’) so I most often shoot with my 50mm due to size constraints. What if I want to take my client out to the rooftop though? (I’m bringing out the 70-200mm for that!) or into the vestibule (only the 24-70mm will do there). I would be unprepared without the other lenses.

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04.07.2014

Photographing in Manual Mode to create Beautiful Exposures

©Judy Host 2014 | Lens: 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM | Aperture: F 7.1 | Shutter speed: 1/320sec | ISO 320 | Focal length 80mm| Exposure: manual mode | Processed in Photoshop using Perfectly Clear by Authentic to add a bright and more saturated look.

Learning to use manual settings in your camera will provide you with the ability to create the beautiful exposures you desire. The exposure in your camera is determined by several different settings. Exposure refers to the lightness or darkness of the image. The settings are: 1) the aperture, the lens opening, which lets in light and controls the depth of field; 2) the shutter speed, the speed by which the lens lets in light, and 3) the ISO, which controls the camera’s sensitivity to light. The right combination of these three settings will give you a nearly perfect exposure and give you the effect you want for your image.

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04.03.2014

Surf Photography with the Sigma 50-500mm F4-6.3 DG Lens

Derek Peters barrel image at 100% actual pixel crop.

Over the last weekend a huge swell focused giant waves on California triggering a high surf advisory and I had my Sigma 50-500mm to document some of the action. By the end of the weekend the awe inspiring power of this swell took its toll with lots of snapped surfboard leashes, broken surfboards and injured surfers (one had to be taken away by ambulance), my friend Jim broke his foot on Sunday dropping into a huge wave!

At my local beach in south Los Angeles the waves break close to shore so my Sigma 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM works very very well to document the action in the water here. Prime lenses are much harder to shoot with at beach breaks especially when the surf is large.

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04.01.2014

Macro Photography: Don’t like the background? Bring your own!

© 2014 Roman Kurywczak | Lens: Sigma 180mm f/3.5 EX DG HSM APO macro | Aperture: f/32 | Shutter speed: 1.6 sec | ISO 800 tripod with multiple reflectors

In my last post, I left you with an image of a flower from my own garden that I was desperately trying to photograph against the beautiful spring sky. I was lying on the ground trying for a good angle when Darrell Gulin’s lesson came to mind. Why struggle out in the field? He often photographs butterflies in his own kitchen and uses printed natural looking backgrounds behind his subjects. Why was I crawling in the grass, struggling to get a good angle? It was my flower so I simply clipped it and brought it inside. I went back outside and took a picture of the beautiful sky. Back inside, I printed it on some cheap 13×19 matte paper, mounted it on some stiff backboard, placed it behind the bloom, and voila! The image at top is very similar as I used a printed natural green background, but done outdoors. My question to you is; could you tell that it was a printed background? It was an actual “real sky” (in the last post) and some “real” foliage, in this image. Does it really matter? How is that different than the manipulation in the field with the bark or the snow? That is a choice for you to ultimately make but now, I could easily have any background I wanted behind the subject and the sky literally was the limit! Below is my low-tech indoor setup that I can use, any day of the year, and have any background I want even if there is a foot of snow outside! Just remember to close the window too.

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03.28.2014

High Concept Photography

An example of a high concept image, this depiction of McClures Beach at Point Reyes National Seashore rises above the literal, conveying ethereal mood through a dream-like representation of sunset. Nikon D2X. Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM lens. f/16, .5 second. ISO 100. Sigma Circular DG Polarizer Filter. Gitzo GT2451EX tripod with Gitzo ball head. Photo © David FitzSimmons. All rights reserved.

In “The High Concept Image,” a recent feature in Outdoor Photographer, nature photographer Ian Plant intelligently challenges photographers to capture creative, thoughtful images that move beyond “snapshots,” rising to the level of “art.”

Ian’s description of the high concept image is in contradistinction to the “low-concept image,” which he points out is generally more “documentary” or “literal” in nature. Seeing nothing wrong with such grab shots, he does, however, push photographers to look for new ways to depict the world. He invokes legendary photographer Minor White, who once said “One should photograph objects not only for what the are but for what else they are.”

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03.26.2014

The Dos and Don’ts of Posing Hands

© 2014 Lindsay Adler

Our job as portrait photographers is often to flatter our subjects and help them look their best. There are so many elements that can go into this equation; lighting, posing, expression, focal length, camera angle and more. There is a lot to consider, so sometimes it is useful to train our eyes to see certain undesirable visual elements so we can weed them out.

I have both a creative and analytical mind. I do not like absolutes. I do no like rules. I do, however, appreciate guidelines that help give us photographers a better understanding of how to use our art to communicate. I’d have to side with Pablo Picasso on this one; “’Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.’”

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03.24.2014

The Challenges of Photographing in Natural Light

© Judy Host 2013 | Lens: APO 70-200mm F2.8mm EX DG OS HSM | Aperture: F 7.1 | Shutter speed: 1/200sec |  ISO 800 | Exposure mode: Manual mode | Focal length: 157mm

The challenges of photographing in natural light can be many. I don’t always get to choose when I photograph, especially because I photograph children and sometimes the best time for them is in the middle of the day. When that happens there are a few things that can help to make this actually work pretty well.

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03.05.2014

Macro Photography: Control the background

© 2014 Roman Kurywczak | Lens: Sigma 180mm f/3.5 EX DG HSM APO macro lens | Aperture: f/22 | Shutter speed: 1/300 sec | ISO 640 hand held with Canon MT 24EX twin flash at -1

Unlike other genres of photography, macro photography allows you the most control. I find that backgrounds are just as critical to the success of a macro image as the subject itself. My first tip on getting closer was for circumstances where you couldn’t control the background. My second tip is to show you that in most cases, you can control the background and it is relatively easy! The butterfly image above was taken in Butterfly World in Coconut Creek Florida. There are thousands of live butterflies in the aviary with a great variety but many times the backgrounds are less than appealing. What to do in that situation? I will walk though the aviary looking for a location with a nice background and ignore almost everything else going on! Once I find a bloom that is isolated from the background I will patiently wait for a butterfly to land on it and fire away. Using this technique in the field will always make for stronger compositions, as cluttered background will often distract from the beauty of the main subject.

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03.03.2014

All-in-One Wedding Solution: Sigma 24-105mm F4

This month I was invited by Sigma to test out their brand new Sigma 24-105mm F4 lens and to shoot a series of bridal images to demonstrate the versatility of the lens. I decided to put together a fashion-influenced bridal shoot in a stunning location and with the help of my incredible talented creative team. Once I had put together striking visual elements, I would then test all features of the lens that would be important to me as a working photographer.

For several years I photographed weddings, and all the challenges that come with them. I realized very quickly that the last thing I wanted to worry about was my gear. I had to focus on the posing, the lighting, keeping everyone happy, my extremely long shot-list, and much more. I needed to know my gear was reliable and would help me get those must-have moments. When I started I didn’t have a second shooter or assistant; I was the one-woman band expected to make every shot count.

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02.25.2014

Winter Waves with the Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | S

120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | S, 1.4X Teleconverter EX APO, Nikon  D4, manual mode, 1/1250th s at f/5.6, ISO 160, Auto-ISO, -0.3 EV, handheld.

Over the last few months I have been testing the newest version of the Sigma’s 120-300 f/2.8. I have nothing but good experiences with the older version of this lens so I have been looking forward to working with this lens over the winter and spring at home in Southern California. So far my experiences have changed my view of this lens, the newest version of the 120-300 f/2.8. The previous version was good. I found that this latest version has quick and accurate autofocus; the image quality is superb and the focal range excellent for nature photography.

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