Broncolor Siros lighting kit review and Giveaway!

Karl Taylor and the Broncolor Siros Lighting set.

Karl Taylor and the Broncolor Siros Lighting set.

As much as I would love to get my hands on a set of these lights, I don’t yet have a set to review myself.  However, Karl Taylor from Karl Taylor Photography has been given a set of the top of the Siros range from Broncolor to test, review and to give away.

I would put these lights at the top end of the budget market and they are ideal for any professional photographer looking for a mobile setup.

Karl as recorded four videos that look at what you get in the box and you get to see just how portable they are when packed away in their wheel trolley bags.  Whilst many people then run a few tests on a model, Karl how us how to use the two light setup in various scenarios.  He begins with a standard portrait using the kitchen area in his wonderful new studio and then they move to a more relaxed seating scenario where he compliments the natural light from a window, using the lights to fill the scene and he also moves outside.  Finally, he moves upstairs into one of his new offices to show how a professional business portrait can be captured.

Best of all, we all have the opportunity to win a set of these amazing lights – I guess that I’ll have to have a go then :).

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Wedding Slide Shows

As anyone who has bought a digital SLR camera will know, the need to dig deep to buy the required basic kit is ongoing.  Just when you think that you have everything that you need, something else gets added to the mix.  My wish list for M4Photo just keeps growing.

However, I am pleased to announce that, following a very successful wedding shoot in Wellingborough and reception party at The Chequers in Yeldon recently, I have invested in a very nice piece of software to create flowing photograph slide shows.  The slides feature a 3D transition and movement option that is just beautiful.  One of the most striking effects is where the photograph is displayed on screen with some subtle motion, whilst the screen’s background is made up of a large zoomed copy of the image which is also moving with some subtle motion.  Other effects include photographs sliding around with multiple copies in the background and more.

I have created a wedding slide show DVD for the recent wedding and sitting down with the bride and groom to review the video was a pleasure indeed.  From the off, they were impressed with the DVD cover.  I’d taken one of the photographs from the day and printed it direct to a glossy printable DVD using my Canon Pixma Pro-100 printer and the results were sublime.  Not only were they both extremely pleased with the cover but their faces were a picture when they saw the presentation on full widescreen television for the first time.

The photo journalism approach to wedding photography gave the bride and groom the perfect set of photographs to compliment those taken by the wedding photographer that was posing the groups on the day.  This outing has enabled me to refine the M4Photo wedding Package and it now includes:

  1. A set of reproducible  .jpg files and an A4 framed print, all covered by the initial low booking fee.
  2. The option to purchase a wedding DVD with up to 60 images featured in a wedding photograph presentation.
  3. Once created, you have the option to purchase copies of the DVD.
  4. A credit system that enables the bride and groom to claim free products.
  5. The ability for the bride and groom to acquire the entire photograph set without charge.
  6. The ability for any family member or guest to purchase the entire image set in digital format with personal reproduction rights of course.

As always, the reproduction of M4Photo’s digital image files is subject to the Copyright Transfer License Agreement, a copy of which can be viewed here.

For further information about the M4Photo Wedding Package, please contact us through the M4Photo website or by email, or simply checkout the M4Photo Wedding page.

 

M4Photo ready to shoot in the rain

Think Tank's Hydrophibia

Think Tank’s Hydrophobia

With some outdoor opportunities on the horizon and the weather looking to be changeable, well isn’t it always here in the UK, I have been researching rain covers for my 5D Mk III. There are a myriad to choose from and the prices range from just a few pounds for a simple plastic disposable rain cover to something much more substantial and expensive.  There are also super inexpensive and ingenious options on YouTube as well.  One is a simple clear plastic bag which is secured around the lens hood with an elastic band and two holes cut for hand holes to get to the camera body and lens.

However, after much research on Google and YouTube and after reading many customer reviews, I decided to take two approaches:

Firstly, I’ll be getting a pack of the disposable rain covers that are readily available from amazon.co.uk. These will be to throw into the bottom of my camera bags for those times when you get caught out. Despite spending countless hours preparing for a shoot, you can never predict the English weather or being asked (told) to shoot near water.  For example, I hope to be shooting at a Tough Mudder event in Kettering on the weekend of the 12th July. With unpredictable weather and the certainty of wet mud and many thousands of litres of water over the course, I want my gear to be both well protected and as water proof as possible.

Secondly, and for this reason, I decided to dig deep and I have managed to secure a nice purchase. It is the Think Tank Hydrophobia camera cover that will completely cover my 5D Mk III and my 70-200mm lens. It does not have the flash cover, but when you are seeking things on the cheap you sometimes have to roll the dice and take what comes along. I got the cover at a good price and I could not wait to try fitting it to my camera with the special eye adapter (needs to be purchased separately from the cover).

The fit is just superb and there are some really nice features. Just a few of the main points that made my decision to buy are:

  1. The quality of the cover is superb.
  2. The fitted eye piece means no loss in use of the view finder, whilst maintaining water proofing.
  3. The cover comes with a special cleaner for the clear plastic to help with fogging.
  4. There is a nice strap to fix the cover around the lens hood.
  5. There is easy access to both the back of the camera and also to the lens for focusing.

This is one rain cover that, despite the high cost if bought new, I would readily recommend.

M4Photo now offer on-site event printing.

Mitsubishi CP-D70DW Event Printer

Mitsubishi CP-D70DW Event Printer

Following a very successful day at the recent Eclipse Gymnastics closed competition; it became evident that there is a market and a need for both the Canon Professional Printer and also a fast event printer that can be used to quickly print photographs for people whilst they wait on site.

Whilst I still maintain that I would prefer to wait a day or two and receive a high quality print, it was clear that numerous people would have preferred to pay for a fast print to take away on the day.  I guess that I will therefore have to give in to the inevitable and concede the debate that has been going around in my head for far too long.

I am therefore pleased to have managed to secure a Mitsubishi event printer for a good price and the deal included a hard wearing flight case to protect this valuable asset. The model acquired is the CP-D70DW which is published as a professional event printer which is designed to print images at the popular 6×9″ size. The flight case even has room for the USB and power cable, which means only two boxes – the printer and a separate box for the media.

I have run a quick test and the printer works fine right out of the box. Configuring the driver was easy on Windows 7.  I was instructed not to use the supplied CD, but to download the latest driver from the Mitsubishi website. With that installed, the printer was connected, powered up and I produced a 4×6” print right out of Lightroom within a few seconds. Yes, you read that right, a 4×6” print proving that this wonderful machine will enable us to offer both 4×6″ and 6×9″ print options right out of Lightroom for on site printing.

At the present time, we will not be able to print in the field without access to electricity, but a portable generator is now firmly on the wish list, along with an event tent to keep everything dry.

I guess this means another M4Photo website update as we now have something new to offer our clients and the list of can-do’s keeps on growing.

M4Photo’s Latest Investment

Canon Pixma Pro-100

Canon Pixma Pro-100

Today M4Photo took another step forward with the investment in, and the delivery of, a brand new printer.

I knew that the printer would be big, but the box from the postman was simply enormous and questions about my planned home for it began to form in my mind.  However, half a hour later the printer was in place, print head and cartridges installed and she was ready to roll.

After much research and thought, I had decided to invest in a Canon Pixma Pro-100 printer for office based printing.  This is one of the three top line professional printers from Canon and it will enable M4Photo to provide clients with lab quality photographs of numerous sizes up to A3 in size.  Initially we’ll be offering 4×6″, A4 and A3 sizes in either Glossy (4×6″), Semi-Gloss or Matte formats (A4 and A3).  However, subject to professional grade Canon papers being available, we should be able to accommodate our clients specific requirements up to A3 in size.  For example, professional grade Luster papers are available from Canon and these can be made available by special request.

As we gain experience of working with the Pro-100 and the various different papers, our preferred and recommended options might change.  Any such changes will be reflected on M4Photo’s Price Page on the website.

Without screen calibration and leaving the printer to manage the colours, the first two 4×6″ prints look awesome.  A screen calibrator will be used to complete the system configuration shortly.  I then expect the production time to reduce and the quality of the prints to increase further.

The printer is pretty heavy and not overly transportable and not nearly as quick to print as a professional event printer.  For this reason, photographs from this printer and in the numerous print configurations available, will only be available to order through our website and not at events.