Guest Blog #1
Over the next week at DCW we will be publishing and sharing a number of daily guest blogs from our partners and guest photo bloggers. Our first contribution comes from commercial photographer and photo blogger Rachel Devine. Rachel has been shooting consistently with the Olympus System since 2014. Find out a little more about how she uses Olympus for her work.
Olympus at work
with Rachel Devine
I was first introduced to the Olympus system through the OM-D E-M10 as a family holiday camera in 2014. I was so impressed with the performance and features of that model that I wanted to see if the OM-D E-M1 could revolutionise my professional photography as well.
From the first professional shoot I did with the OM-D E-M1, it was clear that it was a game changer for my career. The camera is lightweight yet still powerful. I was able to get all the shots I needed with no physical strain. The OM-D E-M1 is small enough that it is not at all intimidating to my models on commercial shoots yet sturdy enough that it can keep on shooting all day long. Despite the small size, the camera with its 16.3 MP Live-MOS sensor and Image Processor was able to capture accurate colour and detail while rendering the image with minimal noise in unpredictable lighting situations which is essential to a natural light photographer.
The autofocus system on the camera is fast and accurate even in low light situations and that is an essential feature in my career of photographing fast moving kids. You can set the autofocus to find faces or even refine that down to focusing on the closest eye to the camera. For product shoots and detailed imagery, I like to switch over to manual focus. Here is where the OM-D E-M1 absolutely shines. With focal area enlargement and focus peaking both turned on in the manual focus assist menu settings, I can be absolutely certain that I have tack sharp focus even in macro images with extremely shallow depth of field. What this means is that when I choose the focal point and press the shutter halfway down the selected area of the image is enlarged in the viewfinder. As I turn the manual focus ring the outline of what is in focus begins to glow white at the edges when it is sharp. No more second guessing my eyesight, I know that I have nailed the focus.
The controls on the OM-D E-M1 feel so natural in my hands that I can make necessary adjustments to exposure without taking my eye off the viewfinder. The buttons and dials are all customisable so I have set them to perfectly reflect my shooting style. One of the main benefits of this system over the DSLR is the live electronic viewfinder. I feel more engaged with my subjects with my eye to the viewfinder instead of on the LCD and the viewfinder on the OM-D E-M1 displays the changes to the resulting image as I make them. Now I can shoot confidently through the viewfinder knowing that my shots are perfectly exposed as I press the shutter release without having to stop and check the LCD.As my clients come to me for PR imagery and time sensitive campaigns, I must get my images right in camera so that the editing is minimal and the turnaround time is extremely quick.
With a short deadline and the client present at the shoot, I depend on the OM-D E-M1’s wireless capability. I can either shoot invisibly tethered to an iPad using the camera’s inbuilt WiFi and the Olympus Image Share app or I can transfer the shots wirelessly to the iPad at the end of a session with the same technology. With Live View on the iPad via the Olympus Image Share app, my clients can see the photographs as they are taken without having to stand over my shoulder. With the flexibility of wireless available on all Olympus PEN & OM-D cameras, it allows us to not be physically tied to a computer or confined to a studio. As the input from the client is in real time, adjustments can be made in the moment avoiding the need to set up that particular shot again. All of these innovations with the OM-D E-M1 mean happier clients who feel like they are a part of the process. This feature happens to be my favourite for my family photography as well. The kids love to control the camera for family selfies and with the images then on my phone, I can share them immediately online.
In the case of headshots, editorial and PR photography where deadlines can be even tighter or even immediate in the case of events, I can shoot and transfer to the iPad on site so that the client makes their image selections as soon as we are finished shooting. If there is any editing to be done, I can simply import the selects into Lightroom on my iPad. Simple alterations of exposure, white balance and cropping can easily be done in the app to the delight of the client. If any larger editing requests come up such as complex skin retouching, it is easy with the Creative Cloud version of Lightroom to transfer the working file to my Macbook Pro laptop to finish in the full version of the program on there. Then again, that is rarely needed and most of my headshot clients leave the session having selected their photos, approved the edits and received a link via email to their gallery of final files hosted on my site without the images having even touched a computer.
The way shooting with the OM-D E-M1 has streamlined my photography business is the biggest development I have experienced since going from film to digital in 2004.
I love taking photographs. It has been my passion and career for a long time and shooting with the OM-D E-M1 means I can spend more of my time taking great photographs and making clients happy than sitting at my computer and editing images.
Rachel Devine is a commercial photographer and photo blogger. She has worked in the children’s media industry since the beginning doing headshots and PR imagery for many child actors and models. She has shot ad campaigns and kid clothing lines as well as branching out into photographing grown-ups too. From Los Angeles, California, since 2008 she has called Melbourne, Australia home. This year marks her twentieth anniversary in the photography business. Rachel is the author of four photography books including Beyond Snapshots (Random House/Amphoto/Ten Speed) and Life in Natural Light (Digital Photography School). In her two decades of professional photography she has used most every camera format out there from instant film to large format, but has not shot with anything except the Olympus system since 2014.