One of the many events that I am disappointed to not be covering this year, is the Maker Faire. Last year, I photographed the 2019 Maker Faire NoVa held on the campus of GMU. Prior to the event, I was referred to the organizers by the TEDxTysons team. Being that the TEDx group was a sponsor of the event, it was a great collaboration. Moreoever, they had a tent at the Maker Faire to promote their upcoming events. Overall they have very similar audiences.
Since this was the first time I attended this event, I needed to quickly get acquainted. The biggest challenge for the day was that the whole event was sprawled across a few campus buildings. Of course, I did not want to leave out any section from the photo collection, so I had to work fast! Armed with a map and schedule of events for the day, I had to divide my time as efficiently as I could. I wish I had more time to see all the creations!
Since we are weeks into this quarantine – video conferences have replaced in person meetings. To be sure this is not my favorite way to network and meet business contacts. However, the current state of our world has forced this style of communication for everyone.
While the advances in technology have made the webcam an adequate conduit for this communication, I am a photographer. Thus, I want to have the best picture quality! Of course I would look better myself, but it would also help my business profile. If my little box looked the best out of all of the boxes in the meeting, it would stick with some people that I know how to make a good looking image online. Moreover, it would show how much I care about how I project myself online, and how professional I can make my clients look. To this end, I looked at how I could use my professional cameras to stream online. My lenses and lighting could then be used to elevate the look from my studio.
Quarantine 2 – Video Setup
As an overview, my laptop is positioned next to my camera on a tripod. The lens is set to a 50mm focal length. If you are using a smart phone for your calls, I would select a portrait style mode to zoom in closer to your face. Seeing that this is the most important thing to see in the video, fill your frame up with your face! The microphone captures a nice clean audio from me sitting about a foot and a half away from the camera. The background of my shot is 10 feet away from where I am sitting. With the difference in distance, the background is blurred out nicely. As long as there is some difference between you and the background, you can have this same effect.
Once you have the camera set, the HDMI cable comes out of the camera and into a video capture card. For this setup, I used the Magewell USB Capture HDMI Gen 2. From here the audio and video is transferred by USB to my laptop. From here, you can choose your USB connection as your webcam in Zoom, Skype, Facebook Messenger, whatever program you would like to use. Both your audio and video will be sent through.
Similar to the separation of your face from the background, the lighting setup follows. I have a very cheap shop lamp with an LED bulb to my right. It is shining into an umbrella that softens the shadows but still gives dimension. With the bright light only about a foot from my face, the exposure is set for my face with the background becoming dark. This makes for a nice dark background. As a matter of fact, this is a good way to hide a messy work room 🙂
Again this may be overkill for most video conferences. However, I want to be remembered as a photographer. With this setup, it makes it easier to make an impression as someone that produces professional images! Please let me know if you have any suggestions, or questions. I am very knew to this, but am pleased with the results so far!
Stemming from a referral from another photographer, I covered the Carahsoft 2019 Gov Con in Washington, DC. On this occasion, their event was held at the Grand Hyatt, a hotel fitting of the name. Attendees would be in the conference center, attending lectures and breakout sessions during the day. For the most part, I would be outside of these sessions creating headshots at a step and repeat.
Since the booth was a little slow on traffic at the beginning of the day, I went into the conference center to see the opening remarks. Of course, I am familiar with so many of the Adobe products, and these attendees would be discussing their newest tools for government agencies.
For the most part, I was outside at the step and repeat. The background was branded for carahsoft, and Adobe the two sponsors for the event. When people would come by, I offered them an updated headshot. Not only was this a little out of my comfort zone, but it is immediately broke the ice. The subsequent quick headshot session was much less awkward to go through comparatively! As I warmed up to the situation, I had a nice long line of people that wanted to get new portraits made. I ended up having a great time, and I hope I made a good impression for carahsoft and their guests!