Godox/Flashpoint. What I Use to Light All of My Weddings.

Hello everyone! My name is Jared from Days Away Creative Photography. I specialize in wedding photography and I wanted to take some time to talk about the lighting I use.

Feel free to shoot me any questions you might have to my Instagram, Facebook, or even Email me.

I LOVE using off camera lighting. If you’re not familiar go search #OCF or #OffCameraFlash and see what I’m talking about. It helps create and edgy and dynamic look but also makes sure that you control he light in any type of situation. If you ever shot in a dark barn or church you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.

Profoto is the best in the business when it comes to these products but they’re incredibly expensive and just not in my budget (yet).

So I’ve landed with Godox/Flashpoint. Yes they’re the same brand and work together without issues. They have even more branded names out there for the same product but I’m not worried about listing them all here.

Godox X-Pro Wireless Trigger / Flashpoint R2 Pro
$69
(Make sure you get the one specific to your brand camera)

Lets start off with the trigger. They have a huge heads up display that makes changing the setting on your lights extremely simple. They range is fantastic plus the 2 AA batteries they take to operate seem to last a while. I’m seven weddings in using the same batteries and still reads 2/3 battery life left. Godox/Flashpoint have a more affordable trigger at I think $49 but it’s not worth it. I have it as a back up and it’s very challenging to use although it does have a hot shoe on top. There is a Mark II version of this available at Adorama that I suggest. They’re the same price.

Godox TT685 Speedlight
$110
(Make sure you get the one specific to your brand camera)

This was my first jump into any Godox product and it didn’t take long before I bought a total of 4 of these and sold all but one of my Canon flashes.
These use 4 AA batteries like most speed lights. They work both on camera and have Godox/Flashpoint’s built in 2.4ghz wireless system built in. These can be triggered off camera by the X-Pro/R2 mentioned above or even by other Godox/Flashpoint flashes.
If you go with these I suggest getting good AA batteries like the Panasonic envelop Pro or the much more affordable Ikea Ladda AA batteries (what I use).

Godox V860II TTL Li-Ion Flash / Flashpoint Li-Ion R2 Flash
$179
(Make sure you get the one specific to your brand camera)

These are almost the same as the TT685 mentioned above but they use a Godox/Flashpoint branded rechargeable lithium ion battery. They are also rumored to have slightly faster cycle time (how fast the flash charges between pops). Also I believe the battery lasts longer than 4 AA batteries would.
I am very intrigued by these but didn’t love the idea of having a proprietary battery when I was first trying them out. The day of a wedding a million things could go wrong and the idea of being able to get AA batteries almost anywhere in a jam made more sense then relying on these $40 batteries. Yeah those little batteries are $40 each.

Godox AD200/Flashpoint eVOLV 200R2 Pocket Flash
$299

I think this is not only the most important light in my bag but outside of any camera/lens the most important product I take with me not only for it’s versatility but it’s power.
These have about the power of 3 speed lights. 3!!!! Rated at 200w/Seconds these pump out a ton of light and cycle than any other light I’ve used at this size. They’re just slightly larger than an average speed light.
They also come with two heads (Pictured) one is a flash style head. (Similar to speed lights) the other is a bare bulb attachment. (Great for light modifiers). There are very affordable mounts to make these Bowens mountable as well.
They use a rechargeable battery that I’ve yet to run dead throughout any job yet. (some jobs are 10 hours long). They’re $59 if you want extra batteries.
They sync up very easy and can be trigger from the X-Pro/R2 trigger or either of the speed lights listed above.
These along with both speed lights also boast TTL (Through the lens monitoring) and high speed sync. I currently own 2 of them and am considering getting 2 more because they’re so powerful and versatile.

AD200/eVOLV 200 with Dual Mount for Bowens Adapter. $59
Available at Adorama

This is just one of the amazing things about the AD200/eVOLV 200. They make a mount that if you really need to power a large light modifier like a 135cm soft box you now have 400w/sec power in a small unit ready to go. This $59 adapter is not apart of my kit yet but will be in the future.

AD200/eVOLV 200 with Extension Flash Head $45
Available at Adorama

Another absolute must have accessory for this amazing light. It takes the power of light and puts it almost anywhere. I’ve even seen people use this system to mount this flash on/near their camera for super fast flashes with little/no recycle time so they never miss those important moments. One word of advice is is you’re going to do that get the belt attachment so the power pack has a safe place to live.

Barndoor Attachment for AD200/eVOLV 200 $28
Available at Adorama

This is the last accessory I’ll talk about with these. I love these because they really let you direct where your light is without it bleeding into places you don’t want it to be. The grid can be popped in and out and it even comes with some magnetic gels similar to Magmod’s system.

Godox AD600/Flashpoint XPLOR 600
(non-TTL)
$549

Ohhhhhhh the power. These have 600w/sec so 3x more light than a AD200 and 9x as much light power as a speed light. I call them the “Sun Killer” because I can use these to light subjects in direct sun or even while the sun is a backdrop and pointing directly at us. They’re bit heavy and bulky but worth it when you need them. They only come with a bare bulb style so light modifiers are a must. They come with a basic cone modifier but they’re a bit cumbersome so you’ll want to see what else is out there.
They have a built in Bowens mount so they snap right with most soft boxes. I purchased 2 of these without TTL. You can purchase the AD600 TTL/XPLOR 600TTL which gives you a lot of the automation similar to the AD200 for $699 but for me I couldn’t justify the cost. After using the AD200 more and more I wish I had gotten the TTL but these are still amazing for controlled environments like formal portraits but you have to remember they’re 100% manual so you have to set the power settings appropriately.
Also if you get one of these do NOT skimp out by using a cheap light stand. They’re pretty heavy and if you have a modifier on it a little wind will take them down quickly.

I have not yet tried or tested the pro versions of these lights.

So this is what I’m brining to each and every wedding:

  • 2 Godox X-Pro Triggers
  • 4 Godox TT685C (C is for Canon) Speedlights
  • 2 Flashpoint eVOLV 200
  • 2 Flashpoint XPLOR 600

I’m sure this is overkill but I’d rather have way to much than not enough. Keep an eye out for posts in the future with how exactly I use them and some example photos. In the meantime go checkout Days Away Creative Photography my wedding website and you’ll see tons of photos where I use this system.

How Google’s G-Suite Helps my Photography Business

Days Away Creative is my wedding photography business.  For years I was using a mix of Apple’s iWork suite paired with iCloud and Microsoft Office 365.  They worked just ok.  Each had some limitations in file sharing and more importantly collaborative productivity.  Even when using BOX’s cloud service the collaboration was terrible.

So after years of not using it I decided to give G-Suite another try.  SO stoked that I did.  I pay just $5 a month for a custom email address with my personal domain, upgraded Google Drive, and the entire G-Suite.

With G-Suite I can make customer forms and questionnaires for my couples.  I also use it for extensive notes that automatically sync across all devices/platforms.  Once that’s done and I’m planning the day of the wedding.  I start to build all that in Google Docs and I can share that with fellow photographers and videographers I’ll be working with during wedding day.

Before we dive in if you want a discount on signing up for G-Suite Click Here!


Google Docs

These are key for collaborative planning with my 2nd photographers and videographers or anyone else for that matter who may be a part of the day creatively. They make it super easy to drag and drop images if I feel inspired to throw some photo ideas to remind me during the wedding.


Google Sheets

To be honest I don’t use these too much (yet).  I’ve got some wishlists of gear I need to purchase and an overall idea of income and expenses for the year but quickbooks does a great job at this for me. It’s basically google’s version of excel so people who know excel with get so much more out of it than I do at the moment.


Google Forms

Even if you’ve got the most basic webpage Google forms is amazing for allowing you to get leads.  In the past I’ve built out a page on my website only accessible via the direct link and used that in Facebook and Instagram adds by embedding a Google Form and it’s helped me get 10 leads per add. It’s also a great way to collect feedback from your couples after the fact.


Google Voice

With Google Voice I plan on getting a secondary phone number that I can use directly with my current iPhone.  This is great for being able to give my customers this contact number instead of my personal and guess what? It’s free!


Google Drive

If you need to move larger files around you can cost effectively upgrade your basic Google Drive account to accommodate more storage.  I doubled mine from 15GB to 30GB.  This makes delivering large amounts of files to my couples a breeze if they prefer.  Also all of your Google Docs, Sheets, and, Forms are going to live there.


3rd Party Apps

This is where I haven’t even had the chance to scratch the surface yet.  Google being a company build on an open source platform allow so many 3rd party apps like Honeybook, Quickbooks, and more to sync with your contacts, projects, calendars, etc.  This is what I’m hoping to dive more into once we get through wedding season.  Do you have any favorite 3rd party app integrations?  If so let me know in the comments below.


If you want to go head and try out these amazing features be sure to get your discounted offer here.

How I Continue Learning Photography

I believe education is one of the most important assets we have.  Perhaps why I work in higher education.  But I think it is important to have a laser focus when it comes to your education.  I spent 4 years as an undergraduate that lacked focus and it’s still impacting me today.  Certain areas don’t need formal education styles to learn.  I think photography is a prime example of that.  In formal photography education they teach you about the history, the foundation (this is important), photo journalism, and fine art photography.  Well hate to be that guy but very few people make money in photo journalism and fine art photography these days.

So I set out to build a business from my photography as many people do.  It can be intimidating to build a business, know what insurance is right for you, LLC, finding clients, marketing all of that.  But there are thousands of people that have gone through those experiences and have been kind enough to share them so we can avoid some of those paint points.

Here are my learning resources and why I use them.

Lynda.com 
This is an amazing resource for all types of things.  Many employers even offer the subscription to their employees for free.  If yours doesn’t you can get a free month then decide if you want to pay $20 or $30 a month after that.  They’ve got an app for all mobile platforms include Apple TV and one of my favorite parts is they allow you to speed up the videos up to 2x so I can take more content in faster.

Six Figure Photography Podcast
Ben Hartley from Style Story Creative launched an extremely successful podcast and hosts different photographers, lawyers, accountants, and more all around how to improve not just your technical knowledge but more importantly the business side of photography.  After discovering him I binged 40 hours worth of his podcasts in just two weeks and I’m learning so much from his catalogue.  Listening to podcasts is such a simple way to absorb information on the go.  I don’t think I’ve opened Spotify in weeks because of them.

Improve Photography
Jim Harmer and his crew have developed a fantastic website and a wonderful “Master Photography Podcast“. The diverse group is always bringing guests onto the podcast to help develop new ideas and content.  Improve Photography’s website offers a TON of great free content as well as premium content containing Lightroom presets, photography contracts, and more.  They also offer a free trial I highly recommend.  And if that’s not enough Jim built RGPS “Really Good Photo Spots” iOS app that allows you to find some great places to photograph while you’re traveling.  Also free.

Jared Polin FroKnowsPhoto
Jared is just part of a trio that delivers amazing content on the newest gear, photography news, and tutorials.  Jared’s got an energetic attitude that constantly keeps you interested.  He’s also fantastic at keeping up with his following on Instagram so go give him a follow.  He’s got a great studio here in Philadelphia know as the Fro Factory that you’ll see feature in much of his content.  I’ve learned more from him in 30 second segments than anything else.  He’s also worked to develop a great app called “Gear Vault” for iOS and Android that helps you keep track of your gear and even insure it.

So these are a few ways that I keep learning and keep teaching myself.  It’s also worth noting that I carry a camera with me almost everywhere all the time.  Sure a DSLR is k kinda bulky but I’ve learned you never know when you’re going to capture a great image plus it’s a great way to master the ins and outs of your gear.

If you have any great resources you use to keep up on your photography please leave them in the comments below!

Unique Way To Backup Your Photos On The Go

As photographers we are always looking to make sure that our most important (or our clients most important) photos are protected.

As I’ve been shooting weddings this summer the photos and video I’m capturing are arguably the most important images I can’t afford to lose. I’ll go into the fine details of my extremely repetitive backup system in a later blog but I wanted to share a unique idea you may already be able to take advantage of with little or no additional cost.

Your iPhone and iPad are maybe your most protected devices. With fingerprint scanners, Face ID scanners, find my iPhone, and iCloud backup your hardware and personal data is extremely secure.

With the latest version of Apple iOS raw files play very well.  Now I know what you’re thinking. “My iPhone tells me I’m constantly ‘out of storage’ and I need to remove things.”

To that I’d say upgrade your iCloud storage. Apple offers you just 5GB for free which modern day (May 2018) is a joke. For just $2.99 a month (about what you paid for your coffee this morning) I upgrade to 200GB and that is more than enough to back up my multiple devices and iPhone photos.  Now I take tens of thousands of photos and videos with my iPhone. Who doesn’t? But with this iCloud storage my 128Gb iPhone 7 has over 77GB of local storage ready to use!  77GB is thousands of RAW files that I can backup to my devices.

Now I’m sure you’re wondering how do I get my photos to my iPhone from my camera.  The best option that I’ve found is the Apple SD to lightning adapter don’t worry it’s only $29.  Do NOT skimp out on this adapter.  Amazon offers dozens of third party ones but I promise you they wont work well.

It’s not the fastest when uploading your photos to your iOS device but it works.  I would say if you’re dumping a 32GB or 64GB SD card full or raw files I would start it in your locked car (out of sight) or anywhere you’re confident the phone wont go for a walk.  I sometimes even throw it in my camera bag that hangs on my shoulder most of the day and let it upload there. (Keep in mind I still have a copy of those images on a 2nd CF card that is still in my camera).

Once these photos are on your iPhone or iPad they’re protected behind all the safeguards I mentioned earlier.  My suggestion once it’s copied to your iOS device is that you do NOT delete them from the card but remove the card and put it in another secure location until the shoot is over.

This solution is a great option for me that I frequently use for portrait sessions, weddings, real estate shoots, and so on.  It is very portable and adds very little gear into my already overpack camera bags.

I hope that you’ll consider using this simple and affordable method to make sure you NEVER have to explain to a client how you lost their images shortly after a shoot.  Please feel free to leave any comments and/or feedback down below.

Layering, Long Exposure, and Night Photography

With the weather finally getting nicer here in the North East I’m taking plenty of opportunities to get out and do some night photography.  Living here in Philadelphia traditional landscape opportunities are limited but cityscapes are in full force.

I’ve been working with some creative long exposures including star trails and the Milky Way.  I think it’s unique to see these types of things in a city atmosphere.

Here is a shot of the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia, PA from Race Street Pier.

Canon 6D
Canon 16-35 2.8L

IMG_7812-Edit-2

Here are 8 different exposures.  Six of them make up the star trails and the other two represent the HDR of foreground and the bridge.

This photo is down on Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, PA.  The recently opened a roller rink with beer garden, mini golf, Ferris wheel, and more.

Canon 5D MKIII
Canon 24-70 2.8L II

DE4A5051-Edit

This image is composed of four exposures.  One main one and the 3 that make up the star trails.

This is not typically my style but as I’m learning new techniques of photography I’m willing to expand what are “typically” considered the ethical boundaries of traditional photography.  What do you think??

 

Is The Winter Drought Over?

Winter can be challenging for photographers in the Northeast.  Especially if it’s not your full time job.  As someone who works a 9-5 it’s very difficult to find inspiration to shoot.  Many photographers also struggle with inspiration when they don’t leave their city/town enough.

The golden hour is frequently spent at the office and you can only go out and shoot so many long exposure night shots.  And even when you do you’re freezing your ass off because it’s 15 degrees.

I shouldn’t complain too much.  Here are some of my favorite shots from this year’s slow season.  Many nights loosing the feeling in my fingers and toes but I’m happy with a few of them.

I know it’s only February but the sun is staying out later it’s warming up randomly thanks to decades of poisoning the ozone layer so it’s time to shoot.  But time is still limited.  I decided that I’ll start carrying my camera with me to work each day.  Working and living in the city constantly provides new opportunities to improve my street photography.

First things first I needed a new bag.  I prefer a messenger style bag to carry to work so I had Manfrotto send me out the Befree Messenger bag that would support both my work laptop/iPad and my camera and a few accessories.

Next I needed to make some efforts to get out of the city more.  Any photographer, hobbyist or professional will tell you, you need to step outside your city/town often.  It’s very easy to lack inspiration from your every day surroundings.  I find that even in a city this happens to me often.

Last weekend I took a trip out to my alma matter Rider University to catch up some old friends and watch a basketball game.  Of course I brought my camera with little or no expectations of obtaining any usable photo but for me it’s getting back in the hobbits of a hobbies photographer.

Next week I’m off to New York City for a week (work related) but I’ll be sure to have my camera with me in hopes of exploring some new opportunities to shoot a new city.  One I’m not particularly familiar with and not particularly fond of.

By the end of next week I really hope to have some photos up here in another blog post to talk about the experience as well as update more frequently on Instagram.

“Happiness Is All Around You. Open Your Eyes And Embrace It. It’s Contagious.”

Damien LeRoy, maybe a name you haven’t heard of.  If you have you’re very lucky.

I’ve never done a profile piece on anyone before but I think this individual is worth talking about.

Damien LeRoy is a professional kiteboarder from Vail, Colorado, currently residing in Jupiter, Florida.

I discovered Damien in early 2013 as he, in partnership with his sponsor GoPro, released a video titled “Damien LeRoy:  The Message”

Three minutes of reflection on how important it is to be happy.  No matter how tough times get there’s always a silver lining.  What I learned is, the hardest part of any tough time is not about getting over what happened but finding out what you learned from it and how you’re going to be better moving forward.

I’ve been following Damien’s videos and social media ever since.  Each post a reflection of how amazing life can be when you surround yourself around the right people and environment.  A daily reminder more people could use.

In the summer of 2016 Damien’s optimism was put to the test when he was power paragliding over the South Florida beaches.  His engine failing and cords tangling he had no choice but to release himself from his harness some 150 feet above the ground.  And like most of his actions sports, it was all caught on tape.

Suffering a broken back, femur, pelvis, 3 ribs, and a punctured lung.  He survived this ridiculous crash.  I remember hearing the news mid July of that year and being devastated.  What was going to happen to someone who’s brought joy and positivity to so many people?

He quickly posted a thankful and hopeful message instagram shortly after saying,

“Dear friends & family,

First, I’d like to thank you all for your support. I have been in awe of all the support, messages, and prayers you’ve sent, and I can’t thank you enough. I would also like to send a huge thank you to Jupiter Police Department, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, and St. Mary’s Hospital. I’ve felt so much love over the past few days that I’ve barely noticed the rod in my leg! I’m still not able to respond to your messages, but I promise I’ll get to them when I can. For now, I just need time and sincerely appreciate your patience.

As to my condition, I’m doing really well all things considered. My most significant injury seems to be my broken femur, which had a very successful surgery. My other injuries, including my punctured lung, fractured spine, broken tailbone, and a few other smaller injuries, will all heal on their own.

I know a lot of people want to know what happened:

I was powered paragliding, which I’ve been doing often for many years. After coming out of a maneuver, my steering lines became twisted, and I could no longer control my glider. Since it looked like I was going into the water, I decided to unfasten myself from the harness. Unfortunately, as soon I was out of the harness, the glider started turning towards the beach. I wasn’t sure if I would even hit the water if I jumped, but I knew there was a chance that my glider could hit someone if I let go. Instead, I opted to hang on until I was past the beach and over the road. Once clear of the road, my options were limited and the longer I waited, the more speed I gained. When I saw an opportunity, right or wrong, I jumped, putting myself in God’s hands. There is no question that angels helped bring me down.
I couldn’t ask to be in better hands than at St. Mary’s Hospital with all my friends and family. The love is absolutely incredible. Again, thank you for all of your support and prayers. I will let you know when I’m ready to talk more. Until then, I just need to rest.

Love you all,
-Damo

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 2.35.38 PM
Photo Credit http://www.damienleroy.com

Damien was pretty vocal throughout his recovery and proved to us that even in his darkest time he’d come back as rad as ever.  Showing appreciation and making friends all throughout his recovery.

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 2.37.53 PM

After a completely successfully recovery Damien has gotten back into doing what he loves.  He’s competing again and has even taken on motivational speaking.  Not a surprise really.

“The world is a tough place.”  Sure enough there are plenty of things in your personal life that weigh you down at times.  You have to remember to surround yourself around the people, places, and things that make you happiest.  Nothing else really matters.

You can follow Damien LeRoy on his multiple social media platforms below:

Instagram / Facebook / YouTube / Website