Fancy Camera Workshop – less than one month away!

Yay! The next workshop is scheduled for September 29. So excited!

If you are not familiar with the Fancy Camera Workshop, read on for more details.


Camera settings, lens choice, focal point and compositional elements will be discussed at length during the morning portion of our day together.
After lunch (provided by the workshop), we will spend a few hours practicing what you learned during a live outdoor photoshoot. I will be shooting too, sharing my camera settings and my thought process behind each image and answering your questions. Everyone will also have a chance to direct the models and compose their own image. We will then look at our images together and answer any final questions. I will briefly share my favorite Photoshop techniques as well.

Here’s an overview of our day together:

9:00 Introductions

The Technical Stuff (manual exposure, camera settings, focal points, focal length, etc)

The Fun Stuff (compositional elements)

Equipment: a little show and tell of lenses, cameras, memory cards, and useful gadgets.

12:30 LUNCH (included) and Review

1:30 Live photoshoot

4:30 Downloading of images and a mini Photoshop (CS5) lesson

5:30 Sharing of Images/Critique/Q&A

7:00 The End


Previous attendees have included students who were just taking their camera out of the box as well as those who own a photography business. There’s a maximum of 12 attendees per workshop to ensure everyone gets individual attention and can learn at their own pace.


If you have a fancy camera but feel like your images are still lacking the wow factor or if you’ve been reading online tutorials and “pinning” photography tips on pinterest, but still feel like you don’t completely get it, this is your opportunity to feel confident with your camera and make some pinterest worthy images ;)


The workshop will take place in Chandler, AZ


Notebook and something to write with

Any digital camera will work as long as it has a manual (M) mode

Your Camera’s Manual

Don’t forget your camera’s digital memory card (CF, SD, MMC, xD, MS, MD, SM)

Don’t forget to charge your camera’s battery

A card reader or your camera’s cable to download photos

A laptop (very helpful if you have one, but not mandatory)

If you don’t have Photoshop, you can download a free trial version prior to the workshop at


The workshop cost is $229 per person. Payments must be made at least 48 hours prior to the workshop via paypal or check. Please note that payments are non-refundable. Email at to reserve your spot!


Yes! You can take 10% off by following the instructions on my facebook page:


Please email me at

What lens should I buy? What is the best lens?

This is a question I get all the time. Usually from photographers who have bought a DSLR camera with a kit lens but have now come to realize the kit lenses are holding them back from producing the kind of images they want. Clearly there is not going to be any one lens that is the appropriate lens for everyone which makes this a really hard question to answer.

There are many different factors to consider when purchasing a lens, I’m going to attempt to explain some of the factors I personally think about when investing on new lenses and hopefully this will make it easier for you to make your own decision on how to best spend your money. And if anyone else has any other tips or important things to consider, please feel free to add it in the comments box.

1. Focal length and angle of view

The focal length of a lens will determine how much of the scene you are looking at will be captured by you. In the photo below you see a 5o mm lens (shorter focal length and wider angle of view) and a 100 mm lens (longer focal length and narrower angle of view).

Here are images of the same scene from the same distance, but using different focal lengths:

Also keep in mind that the same lens on cameras with different sensor sizes will have a different angle of view. For example, the Canon 5D has a full frame sensor (meaning it is the equivalent of a 35mm negative) and most entry-level DSLR Canon cameras have an APS-C sensor which has a 1.6 crop factor.

These two photos were taken from the same distance and using the same lens. The photo on the left was taken with the Canon 5D (full frame sensor) and the one on the right with the Canon Rebel XSi (APS-C sensor):

The 50mm lens on a full frame sensor is considered to be a ‘normal lens’ since it captures essentially the same as you would see with your eyes. Lenses with shorter focal lengths than 50 mm are considered wide and lenses with longer focal lengths than 50 mm are considered long or telephoto lenses (although not all long lenses are of telephoto design).

2. Fixed lenses vs Zoom lenses

Fixed lenses have just one focal length and can have a wider max aperture and generally are of higher quality.

Here are some of my favorite Canon fixed lenses: 24 mm f1.4 L, 35 mm f1.4 L, 50 mm f1.2 L, 85 mm f1.2 L, 100 mm f2.8 L macro IS

Zoom lenses have the flexibility of being able to capture images at different focal lengths without having to change your lens, but usually need to have a higher max aperture and can be heavier and optically inferior.

Here are some of my favorite Canon zoom lenses: 16-35 mm f2.8 L, 24-70 mm f2.8 L, 70-200 mm f2.8 L IS

3. Image Stabilization (IS)

The longer the focal length the more likely you are to experience “camera shake” at lower shutter speeds when hand-holding your lens. If you are going to be using a long lens without a tripod, it is wise to invest in a lens that has IS

4. Quality of the glass

The quality of the glass in your lens will influence the quality of the image. The higher quality glass is usually heavier and more expensive. The photos below were taken with similar lenses. Both lenses are fixed 100 mm lenses with a max aperture of 2.8 and Macro capabilities. The main differences are that one has the higher quality Canon L glass and IS.

5. Maximum aperture

Why is this important? If you are looking to produce images with shallower depth-of-field (more blurriness), the wider your aperture the more ‘blurriness’ you can get. And by the way, if it’s ‘blurriness’ that you are after, getting closer to your subject and using a longer focal length will also increase the ‘blurriness’.  And just as a FYI, lenses with a wide max aperture (below f/2.8) are often referred to as ‘fast’ lenses.

6. Fixed vs. Variable aperture

With many zoom lenses you will notice that the max aperture will be stated as a range. For example f/3.5 – 5.6. This means that you will be able to set your aperture at 3.5 at the wider focal lengths, but only at 5.6 at the longer focal lengths.

7. Bokeh

Bokeh is how the parts of the image that are outside of the depth-of-field appear. The quality of the blur so to speak. This is somewhat a personal opinion, but there are some lenses that are known for not having really great bokeh. My Canon 50mm f/1.4 pictured above being one of them.

Whew! That was a lot, but hopefully this was helpful and not too technical. What are some of your favorite lenses?