Photography talk about events, techniques, gear, and happenings in the world.

This months professional photographer review is dedicated to the Phottix Varos Pro S Umbrella flash holder. I have been searching for a high quality umbrella holder not made out of plastic, and finally, I found an all metal cast one and am thrilled to report, it has surpassed my expectations. Please enjoy this video and provide any feedback you may have. See you next month!

 


For your March update, I have made a short video on how to shoot Event Photography outdoors using a single wireless flash setup. Let me know if you have better success using other techniques or if you have any questions.

-Tavit


It’s been a tough bullet to bite, but as a professional event photography specialist, I dab my hands in a lot of pots to see what new business may rise. In 2017, I gave wedding.com a chance for my wedding business side of things, and unfortunately, the casting line had no bites. Here’s a few reasons why you should invest your marketing money elsewhere.

First and foremost, you would think with a site named, wedding.com that they would be the best of the best. This assumption lacks precedence to the vendors and leaves customers in shining light. It all comes down to format. Wedding.com makes vendors bid on couples, so you manually must reach out to couples who might not like your style. This also means you must be the fastest vendor to drop a bid or else, you snooze you lose. While this is a popular format (think Thumbtack) it doesn’t work here.

I think I spent $600 for the year or something and had zero return. I was on top of it. Everyday I signed in, I followed up on emails when couples were looking for photographers, and I messaged all the couples in my area. I even went beyond, I messaged couples in multiple cities in multiple states. Still, nothing. The worse part of wedding.com, you must manually check your messages to see if anyone responded back to you. Their system doesn’t even send you a text or email notification if you get a bite. Hard to believe in this technology-based age. It’s perhaps the biggest flaw in their system.

I still don’t get who the real target market is on the site, or what couples are even on their. Sometimes I think it’s just bots to make us vendors believe were making some type of progress. With other choices such as The Knot and Wedding Wire. Wedding.com should sell their domain to either of those behemoths and hang up their hat for trying. Take the money and walk I say, because there is absolutely no value or gain from this (just my experience I suppose).

If you’re any vendor, especially a photographer, there are better options out there to find leads for your money. It stinks because I really wanted wedding.com to be amazing, but it was a letdown. Competing sites have the couples contact vendors instead, the way it should be. If this hits even one set of eyes to save them money, I know all of this message will be worth it.

-Tavit


Event Photography requires a lot of strings. First, there needs to be an event, then a producer, then that producer delegates to hire staff, hair and make up (if needed), production involving photography and videography, and of course a tentative timeline.

Over the years, this magical formula has proved itself. We are fortunate here where most of our clients continue to re-hire us year after year for their major projects and events. Beyond the measure of our personalities, we believe in one thing, and that is excellent customer service. The team and I cater to our clients every need. This can range from location of the event, deadlines on delivery, same day delivery and so forth. One of our previous clients needed 5 revisions with watermarking their images. Instead of charging a fee, we took care of them and wanted to keep them happy.

Sometimes the time and energy can feel futile, but in the end, that client/producer for the event will remember you next year if they come back to town, or are local and throw the same event. If you go above and beyond, and they decide to go with someone else on the following year, all you can do is move forward, and hope they contact you the next year. Never consider a client’s work a one-off project. The goal is to build a business friendship. This friendship shows them that you care, and they are a priority. The second you think a contract is a one-time thing, is the second you just lost that work indefinitely.

One of our main advantages here is the services we offer. Not only do we have the best event photographers in the valley, we also offer video services and hair and make up services. The more you are able to bring to the table, the better your chips stack up. While offering more services requires more work, your clients will appreciate the help, especially the producer of the event.

This information should seem practical and basic, but you would be surprised the amount of ‘professionals’ I meet that have no idea what they are really doing. They believe taking pictures, editing, and delivering is all this industry involves. Peeling back the layers, the attention to every detail in running your business is critical. I hope this has helped you on your quest to understanding what it means to shoot event photography. Feel free to leave a comment.

-Tavit


For this months November Blog post, I take you on a head to head comparison between these two brands. Phoenix Photography has been my shtick for about 9 years now. Nevertheless, being comfortable with 12 pounds of equipment around your neck after all these years seems quite important. So, please enjoy this battle between brands and let me know what you think. Cheers!

-Tavit


For this monthly blog post, I thought it would be neat to showcase a video reveal of the wedding book I offer. I categorize wedding photography as event photography, and with that comes tangible items I offer. This wedding book is handmade in Italy by a company called Graphistudio. Pricing starts at $669 for a 30 page spread. Instead of talking about it, I wanted you to see what it’s like when you received your finish book by me. Thank you to Jessica and Kenny for being a part of this experience!


This month I wanted to showcase and provide some information on the wedding book I offer. As a Professional Photographer, I wanted to offer a one of a kind wedding book that is handmade in Italy by Graphistudio. Your book would be designed by me and starts at $399 for a 30 page spread at a size of 12×8. I also offer parent copies at 8×6 that comes in a qty of 2 for $249. If you have your pictures and want a high end book completed, please contact me directly so we can chat over some ideas. Enjoy the video as it showcases the book in its entirety.


Last month I did a blog on my trip to Iceland, this is part two of that blog. While covering Event Photography would be my prime work, traveling and capturing nature, buildings, etc etc, is the palette cleansing topic I adhere for. During July 2017, I embarked on a once in a lifetime journey that would take me to Iceland, Amsterdam, Normandy, Paris, Ibiza, Brussels, Bruges, and ending in London. Every location had its pros and cons, but the goal in traveling is to embrace other cultures and keep an open mind. The food, languages, financial system, and people, are all items to respect when being a tourist. The only gear I brought on this vacation was my Canon 5D3 and my 16-35mm F2.8 V2 lens. With my camera in hand, here is how that trip played out.

Picking up from last month’s blog, I covered the itinerary for Iceland. Without going into more details, here is a Google Map for the one-day trip I did called the Golden Circle. This will take one day and is worth the time. I first started at Silfra Fissure, and did the first morning snorkeling tour with a company called Artic Adventures at 9am. When you arrive, you get suited, then briefed, then you enter the water. The whole process takes 2-3 hours. Make sure you use the bathroom before you get suited. The snorkeling was a definite highlight of my entire trip. Afterwards, I went to Strokkur Geysir. This is a huge tourist attraction, so be prepared for that. Afterwards, right down the street (relatively speaking) is Gulfoss Falls. It is another tourist trap, but the falls are incredible and amazing to witness. Finally, I trekked back and drove to Grimsnes crater. This thing was HUGE. All in all, the driving and site seeing and snorkeling experience is something you must experience yourself to appreciate its beauty. Here is the MAP for the one-day adventure.

Next on the journey was Amsterdam. You always hear of people speaking about their experiences here, and Amsterdam did not disappoint. My hotel was about a 15-20-minute train/bicycle ride away from city center, which is the prime area to site see. Amsterdam was amazing. The food was amazing, the bicycle friendly roads were great, and the people were cool. One thing to note about Amsterdam is that they are a very cash based economy. I found it difficult to use my credit card in most places I went to. So be sure to carry 2-300 euro if you plan on touring the streets. If you plan on going to the Anne Frank house, buy your tickets online months in advance. Pretty much if you want to do any type of tour anywhere in Europe, buy your tickets online in advance, you will be glad you did, trust me. To conclude on Amsterdam, the two best places I visited were Amstel Park and a music festival called Outdoor Extrema. Amstel Park is massive and provides a little bit of everything for everyone. They had art installations, mini golf course, a pet friendly farm, snack bars, ice cream shops, and many more. I had never seen a park offer so much to do and see. Getting to Outdoor Extrema required driving an hour and a half South East through Amsterdam, and man it was gorgeous. The festival was great with a solid DJ line up and great vibes all around.

After Amsterdam, I headed to Normandy which is the northern part of France. I visited Mont Saint Michelle a second time which is always a breathtaking place to visit. It’s basically a massive castle surrounded by water. After visiting Rouen, France, I headed into Paris and went to the top of Notre Dame. After Notre Dame, I headed to Palace of Versailles. If you have never been, I recommend arriving early in your day, maybe even first thing, the property is massive and I suggest renting the golf cart, it’s worth the money to save your legs from exhaustion. After the few days in France, it was time to go to Ibiza. Ibiza was a much warmer climate but worth the trip. I stayed near the partyville area, but off the beaten path so it was much quieter. I checked out multiple cities via the scooter I rented which was perhaps the best thing I could have done. I checked out the pool parties at Ushuaia and Hi Ibiza. These locations were fantastic, it was truly amazing to party at night and relax at the beach by day. After Ibiza it was time to go to Belgium for Tomorrowland.

Tomorrowland is perhaps the worlds largest music festival. To give you an example, within 3 days, I walked about 40 miles. The sheer magnitude of this music festival is astonishing, and it’s well equipped to handle that many people. The festival was great, after spending 5 days in Brussels, I headed to Bruges. Bruges was more of a vacation spot for tourists and it’s very easy to get around by train and walking. The site seeing here and canal tour was a good experience and highly recommended. I purchased the 20-euro museum pass and got to see multiple places for much less than paying at each location. After Bruges, it was time to end in London.

I took the channel from Brussels to London, it wasn’t as scary as you might think. Arriving in London, the hotel I stayed at was across the street from Westminster Abbey. It was off the tourist area so it was very quiet and comfortable and easy to walk to Big Ben and the subway. Getting around was a breeze. There was one instance where 7 men were following me into the subway, and instead of making any mistakes, I immediately made a B line for the stairs and went back up to street level and took a cab to my destination. This was the only instance the entire trip where something could have gone horribly wrong, but using common sense, I made the right decision. Always be alert of your surroundings, don’t constantly look at your phone or map, you will become an easy target. The 3 days in London were awesome. I ate at some of the best places in town, Flat Iron being one of them. It was an hour and a half wait, and well worth it. Another great restaurant was Burger and Lobster. Burger and Lobster had a great atmosphere and the food was delicious and a must to check out. I attended a boat party with the legendary Matt Darey for his album launch party on the River Thames. The party was fun and the after party at Last Days of Shoreditch was even more fun with hilarious stories and antics shared across tables with guests traveling from USA, India, Scotland and more.

The one month of traveling is something I wish everyone could do, just so they could see what else is out there. This Earth is truly magnificent. If you have any questions or comments, please drop them below. Until next month, cheers!


In the month of July, I had the pleasure to visit Iceland. Seeing the country through Phoenix Photography eyes was truly amazing. There were a lot of lessons learned, but the main aspect of my journey was discovering exactly how beautiful this earth really is. I was there for 5 days, and each day just got better and better. This blog will be a two part post, I hope you enjoy it.

Upon arriving, I noticed the lack of traffic. This was fantastic to see, as I left with my rental car, 4×4 to be exact, I felt as though I could trek through anything, and I did! During the summer, Iceland doesn’t have nights, so to sleep, you must have black out curtains, and an eye mask is encouraged. At 1 in the morning, I drove out to the middle of nowhere, and found a waterfall after a 30-minute hike to get to it. It was absolutely breathtaking. Trollafoss to be exact.

On the second day, I went to Blue Lagoon, which is a very popular spa, with natural hot springs. While in the water, you can get two masks put on, afterwards, I got a 30 minute massage followed by a glass of champagne at the walk up bar. After spending 3.5 hours here, it was time to head back to my airbnb and see what waterfall was next on my to see list.

On the third day, I did the Golden Circle. It is basically a 1 day adventure to see and hit multiple sites. And man, it was worth it. My first stop was snorkeling between the European and North American continental plates. The location was the Silfra Springs. The water was so clear, you could see as far as you could under water, it was majestic. The water itself takes 30 years to travel from the mountain and is purified through the lava rock, so by the time it arrives, you can just drink it, no big deal. After the snorkeling experience, I continued onto the Waterfall nearby, then the geyser. To finish the day, I ended up at a Crater, which was magnificent.

On the fourth day, I woke up at 7am, by 730 am I had contacted Hella Horse Tours and booked my seat for the 10am ride. When I arrived, amazing staff greeted me, followed by the most beautiful horses you have ever seen, followed by a tour that would make your jaw drop. The tour took you through streams, flower fields, and lava rock. After the tour, I continued driving and pulled over here and there checking out waterfalls and scenic places as I found them.

On the 5th day, I just enjoyed the time I had left, freestyle, and checked out what I could. One thing to note is, while the flights are cheap to get here, the cost of food is 3-4 times more expensive to what you’re used to. I am not exaggerating, plan accordingly to bring your own food, cook your own meals, etc, because you will go broke eating out. Each meal was about $35-50 each time. After the second meal, I bought my own groceries which is still expensive, and cooked for myself.

Some pro tips would be this, go into Iceland with a plan, but don’t have a plan. Get a rental car and make sure it’s a 4×4. Don’t stay in one place, hotel or airbnb as you travel throughout the island. I regret not seeing more because I could only drive out so far before I had to turn back and get home. Make your own meals. Make sure you bring warm clothes that are waterproof and water resistant, it rains a lot and it’s cold. Make sure you document your trip with a high-end DSLR camera and Gopro if you can, the experiences you have will blow your mind. Iceland has even more to offer than what I saw. There are whale site seeing tours, ice caves, glacier hiking, the list goes on. In next month’s blog post, I will be doing a complete recap of my European tour. But Iceland was perhaps the best outdoor experience I wanted to share first.

 


Event Photography can take a lot out of you. Between running your business, being creative, buying new items, editing, learning new techniques, the list goes on and on, it can put a real strain on your brain. It wasn’t until recently that I started meditating. I hate to admit it, but I always thought meditating was this ‘bad thing’ that hippies and super cool spiritual people did, so I stayed away, admittedly being completely ignorant to the idea. Well, lesson learned.

One day, I was scrolling on my social media feed, and I came across this 2 minute video of a monk talking about meditation. He explained that it is hard to turn the brain off, because our brains are like chattering little monkeys, always distracting, and talking talking talking. When meditating, you tell your brain to breathe in, and breathe out, over and over, this makes it so your brain doesn’t think about anything else, therefore your focus is now breathing, and it slows your heart down, and in turn, calms you down.

Like many, MANY people, I suffer from high anxiety, and get panic attacks for some things I think about that will probably never happen. If this sounds like you, then I’m glad you’re still reading. After suffering for so long with anxiety, and refusing to take prescription drugs, then coming across the meditation video, I decided to seek out meditation techniques that would help me with my problem.

That is when I came across this app called ‘Calm’ on the Apple app store. This app has been incredible. I use it when I have a panic attack, and I use it to help me to go sleep. Now, initially, they have pretty neat features that are free, such as sounds like thunderstorms, fireplace, fountains, etc for background sounds if you’re trying to sleep, relax, or work at your desk. It comes with a free breathing technique, 2 complimentary adult bedtime stories (it’s meditation hiding in form of a story), and a free 7-day meditation program. There are purchase options available if you decide to take your calming services more seriously.

I can honestly tell you, this app has been a life saver. Everything it does for me, works. Even when I’m alone, sometimes I just focus on breathing, and it helps. With this new-found practice, my mental clarity has been sharper, and lately, I am much more relaxed, even while running my business life and handling my personal life. If this helps just one person reading this, than I will be happy with my time spent here. If you feel this can help others, please share this with the world, your family, or friend. Mental illness is serious, mental instability is serious, and if we all took a little time to help each other or help someone else by showing them how they could help themselves, you never know what positive impact it may have. After your head is clear, pick up that camera, and get creative again. ?