fundy@fundysos.com'

About Andrew Funderburg

Andrew "Fundy" Funderburg is a father, husband, photographer and the creator of Fundy Software. He lives in the Portland, Oregon metro area.

Canon Pancake Lens – What Are Your Best Options

A tiny Canon pancake lens is a good way to keep your gear on the light and ultra-portable-side. You don’t have to switch to a mirrorless camera just because they are the smaller alternative to a DSLR.

DSLRs can also be fitted with exceptional pancakes. We’ve rounded up Canon’s two extremely thin lenses that will take your skills to a new level.

canon pancake lens 24mm and 50mm

What Is a Pancake Lens?

Why do they call them pancake lenses and why should be consider getting one? It’s not food – this much we know. Well, it all lies in the shape and weight of these flattened barrel-shaped lenses.

The most obvious description would be that this type of lenses is shorter than it is wide. This results in smaller and lighter lens than the standard ones that can get quite long and heavy. They are valued for their high-quality optics and low manufacturing costs that make them quite affordable.

Another characteristic is their fixed focal length. This means that pancake lenses do not offer zoom capabilities. This could be an impediment, indeed, but the fact is that we don’t always need a zoom. Photographers can rethink their composition and shoot extremely sharp images with these fun lenses.

Pancake lenses also provide fast apertures when compared to the standard kit lenses. This makes them perfect for capturing moving subjects or to shoot portraits with a lovely bokeh. Some of these lenses also possess close focusing capabilities, which allows for dramatic macro shots.

They enjoy a wide popularity, especially among mirrorless camera designs. However, pair them up with a DSLR, and you can make the camera as pocketable as it can get. Pancake lenses should be a traveler’s first choice, as you can pack lightly and still get those high-quality photographs you’re hoping for.

The history of these lenses dates back to the early 1900s when Zeiss came up with the famous Tessar lens design. The first Canon pancake lens was produced in 2012 and, chances are, you’ve heard some great things about the Canon 40mm f2.8 STM lens.

canon 40mm f2.8 pancake lens

EF 40mm f/2.8 STM – The First Canon Pancake Lens

The Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM is not much larger than a lens cap but it offers unbeatable optics. The less weighs around 4.6 ounces and is less than an inch deep. The build is of superior quality, coming in with a metal lens mount that will outlast any plastic mount. It is optimized for full-frame digital SLRs and it works with every EOS camera ever made.

Why go for a 40mm focal length? This figure is quite the novelty, as most prime lenses are 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, or 100mm. However, a 35mm lens on a full-frame camera might be too wide. Additionally, the 50mm might provide a little too long results. And that’s when the necessity for a 40mm comes in – the middle ground length that many are looking for.

It’s one of the first lenses to be equipped with an STM focusing motor – a faster and less noisy alternative to the conventional micro motors. The motor can continuously autofocus during both video recording or live-view photography.

Another thing worth mentioning in terms of focusing is that the minimum focusing distance of the Canon 40mm lens is less than 12 inches. This means that photographers can get very close to their subjects and still keep a sharp focus.

At maximum aperture, the sharpness it excellent. The resistance to chromatic aberrations is also very good and corner shading is inexistent at any aperture other than f/2.8. When it comes to distortion, you will find a slight amount of barrel distortion but will only be evident in the corners.

canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM

Let’s look at the specs:

  • Focal length – 40 mm
  • Format – FF, APS-C
  • Maximum aperture – f/2.8
  • Aperture blades – 7
  • Filters – 52 mm
  • Reproduction ratio – 0.18x
  • Stabilization – No
  • Focus – Lens AF motor
  • Internal AF – Yes
  • Full-Time MF – Yes
  • Tripod ring – No

Being priced around $200, it is well worth the money. The features that Canon has managed to offer in such a small package are quite impressive.

EF 24mm f/2.8 STM – The Latest Canon Pancake Lens

The Canon 24mm f/2.8 lens is even smaller than its full-frame 40mm sibling. Weighing in around four and a half ounces and being less than an inch deep, you can easily fit it in your pocket and carry it around with you anywhere. It has a durable metal mount and matte black plastic filter threads.

This new wide-angle pancake lens from Canon is designed for APS-C DSLR cameras. The Canon 24mm f/2.8 pancake lens is a quick performer when it comes to auto-focusing. It takes around 0.15 seconds for it to lock onto your subject. It uses Canon’s Stepping Motor Technology focusing system that allows for a more smooth and silent focus.

For its price range, the 24mm f/2.8 is unexpectedly sharp. A trace of corner softness is present when shooting at f/2.8 but stepping down to f/4 ensures total sharpness across the frame. The chromatic aberrations are well controlled, and you will most likely experience them as purple fringes along the edges.

When opening the aperture to f/2.8 there will be some shading in the corners and a mild barrel distortion, just as with any wide-angle lens. However, the latest APS-C bodies will automatically correct the light fall-off when shooting JPEGs, so it isn’t a too big of an issue.

Unlike the EF 40mm f/2.8 lens, this new Canon pancake lens can actually double up as a macro lens.  it delivers a 0.27x magnification at a minimum focusing distance of just over six inches.

canon 24mm f2.8 STM pancake lens

Here are a few notable specs:

  • Focal length – 24mm
  • Maximum aperture – f/2.8
  • Minimum aperture – f/22
  • Minimum focusing – 6.3 inches
  • Maximum magnification – 0.27x
  • Internal focusing – No
  • Stabilized – No
  • Blades – 7
  • Elements – 6
  • Groups – 5

Priced at around $150, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Canon 24mm pancake lens is great for just about anything. Every shot will be sharp and clear, and consider how much money you could save. It’s the ultimate travel lens for those who can’t afford to bring too much gear with them while wandering the world.

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Resources to Take Pregnancy Photography to the Next Level

Pregnancy photography isn’t just about scoring the sharpest photo of a mother carrying her child. It’s about being part of the bringing of a new life into this world. Once you do understand that, it will be easy to take pregnancy photography to the next level and truly amaze the people hiring you for it. All you need are a few helpful tips to get you from photographing bellies to creating works of art. We’re here to help!

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Don’t be afraid to go meta with your pregnancy photography!

The relationship between a mother and a child is outstandingly special. You need to capture that. In that pregnancy rest the hopes for the future: the thought that maybe the little one will grow up to live in a better world. Think of how many generations of mothers have gone through their 9 months with that on their minds. You need to capture that as well.

Emotions are complicated to convey, but they need to be accounted for when building your pregnancy photo shoot. So to help you plan your angles and score memorable snapshots, we’re going to give you the dos and don’ts of pregnancy photography. Maybe you’ve done some of the don’ts, haven’t some of the dos; either way, try your mind at these cool ideas:


Quirky & Useful Pregnancy Photography Ideas


Aim for Comfort

The subject of your photo must never feel pressured to do anything that she doesn’t want to. That means that the degree of skin exposure and nudity is up to the model and not to the photographer. If you feel that a particular shot would look better if the belly would be exposed, ask politely. There are more than enough ways to capture a perfect pregnancy photography poses without unclothing the model.

Explain your Concepts

Before setting out to make a pregnancy photography shooting, sit down with the star and tell her what you want to do with the photos. Explain the setting, the concepts that you want to incorporate, the symbols that they will convey, as well as the general meaning that you want the viewer to get from the photo. An informed mother can be helpful and receptive, and if she doesn’t like your ideas then maybe it wasn’t meant for you to do the shoot.

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Hands holding baby booties – a really nice idea.

Basic Wardrobe Choices

Start with a simple dress. Something stretchy and tight is what you’ll want since you’re looking to bring the pregnancy to center stage. Maternity clothes are designed to hide the pregnancy since many mothers feel insecure about their looks when carrying a baby. A basic getup can do wonders when shot in the right light, with the right amount of exposure and contrast.

Try Poses, but Not Too Many

Make a catalogue of the poses you like the most. There are a lot of things you can take inspiration from. For example: yoga. Handpick the ones that put the least strain on the mother. Then add others from basic pregnancy photography poses to more abstract poses. Make the model choose from these poses and then let her position herself in those that she can. If at any moment you see her struggling, say that you’ve gotten enough photos from that position and move on.

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Simple contrasts and flower model dresses are great pregnancy photography ideas.

Maybe Bring a Hair Stylist Along

Ask the start of the photo shoot if she’d like that and then bring the hair stylist with you. Try to work with the hair stylist and make the shot into an authentic one. It needs to inspire feelings of empathy, amazement, and joy: try to express that when you take your shots. If you’re aiming for a nude pregnancy photography shoot, make sure the hair is not too fancy or coquettish. Consistency is key so for au naturelle shots, make the hair naturelle as well.

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Outside pregnancy photography can work really well when it’s sunny.


Pregnancy Photography Things to Avoid


Never Make the Model Do All the Effort

Remember that she’s the one carrying a new life and not just one of the typical pinup girls you see in ads. The rules of basic photo shoots do not apply for pregnancy photography, no matter whether you’re shooting pregnancy announcement photography, nude pregnancy photography, family pregnancy photography, or outdoor pregnancy photography.

Don’t Start off With the Flash

I’m not talking about the superhero, but about the actual flash of a camera. When snapping pregnancy photos, it’s a good idea to use the natural light available and work with it. This will give the photo a heaven-like look. A good sensitivity to use is 640 ISO – this will give the photo that misty look that you see everywhere in pregnancy photos.

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Rule number one: try to highlight the parents in your pregnancy photos.

 

Avoid Cliché Positions at All Costs

Don’t just tilt the model’s head back or in the front. Avoid pregnancy photography poses that you’ve already seen countless times. Make the mother feel unique and happy with her body. Don’t impose your beauty standards on her and don’t ever try to shape her into a contorted pose the likes of which only master yogis can achieve.

Advise Against Pregnancy Photography When You Feel Like It

The recommended pregnancy age for pregnancy photography poses is up to 30 weeks. More than that and the baby may be at risk. So if a mother that’s passed that period is asking you for intimate pregnancy photography, try to decline. If the mother insists, then agree while keeping in mind that all the photos must be taken with as little effort as possible from the mother. Don’t wholly decline as the mother may end up going to an untrained photographer or worse yet try to take the photos on her own.

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Beautiful young pregnant woman in autumn park; great ideas for pregnancy photos.

Pregnancy Photography Conclusions

There aren’t that many practical tips when it comes to pregnancy photography. The usual suspects still apply: avoid background clutter, make sure the lighting is appropriate, use Photoshop in good taste, so on and so forth. We’ve tried here to highlight the most important things that, in our opinion, can make the difference between a successful pregnancy photography shooting and a poor one with an inauthentic look.

Always remember the ethics of pregnancy photography.

Image sources: depositphotos.com.

How wedding photographers can maximize on Twitter

A Guest Article By Andrew Funderburg

 

1. Your Target Audience The main people a wedding photographer will want to target on Twitter is other wedding industry vendors. Since it’s damn-near impossible to know which Twitter users are brides-to-be, target vendors. Use Twitter to know who is doing what. Offer help if you see someone starting a project. Some suggestions:

  • Magazine Editors
  • Wedding Planners
  • Gown Shops
  • Florists
  • Venues

You get the picture. Twitter is an AWESOME way to break the ice with new vendors and other industry professionals you have yet to meet. Then when you do finally get some face time, you’ll have some familiarity to start with.

2. Look for people who talk back OK, so now you’ve found vendors with Twitter accounts. How do you know if they’re worth pursuing? Look at their stream. If they send out plenty of @replies, then this is who you want to talk to. If on the other hand, their stream is just one-way announcements and links to their Web site, chances are you won’t get much out of them. (They haven’t figured out how to use Twitter yet!)

3. Reach Out Twitter is not an “if you build it, they will come” type medium. In fact, it’s the opposite. You have to REACH OUT to people. You do this on Twitter by first following the people you’re targeting and then replying to their tweets. They’ll follow back after awhile. You have to jump-start it.

4. Be Interesting This should be a no-brainer, but have something to say. If you’re not witty yourself, provide resources, tips and info. You also can have good taste in retweets. @PicSeshu is someone who does this very well and has become a great photography resource on Twitter. Keep in mind your target audience and provide relevant info.

5. Have Fun The simplest law of the social universe, if you’re having fun people will be attracted to you. People want to do business with and be around other positive, upbeat people.

There you have it. That’s how a wedding photographer can use Twitter for business.

 

An easy portrait profit center

A Guest Article By Andrew Funderburg

High-end portrait sales are a great source of income for studios. But sometimes the big ticket items create sticker shock for the client.

Using Finao 3ditions (three albums exactly the same in a matching box) is a great way to bring profits into you studio. Watch this video with Fundy explaining a simple payment plan concept with three albums.

**(Prices in this video are for illustration purposes only. Make sure you price for your profitability.)

The Sales Process

A Guest Article By Andrew Funderburg

Selling is one of the more difficult aspects of running a photography business. It helps if you know the sales cycle and the sales process. These tips are taken from Advanced Selling for Dummies, a great book. Reading sales books or taking sales seminars is one of the best things you can do for your business. All the beautiful photos in the world won’t help the bottom line, if the client never books you or buys your services.

This is a simple seven step sales presentation. It works the same whether you are meeting the client for a possible wedding booking or selling albums or prints to a client you’ve already shot (portrait or wedding).

1. Greet the Client – I know this sounds obvious. Take extra time to chat with the client and find out how their day went. Make them relaxed. Imagine that a friend stopped by for a cup of coffee at your house. How would you treat them? Treat clients the same.

2. Ask Questions – You can’t sell anything if you don’t know what the client wants. If I spend a half an hour talking about portrait albums, but what the client really wants is a canvas cluster, how will that sales process go? Not very well. Ask what he or she is looking for. Ask her what brought her in? What did she see on your Web site that made her call and make an appointment? Or was it a referral? Ask all of these questions. The answer will help you provide the best solution for your client.

© Sal Cincotta

3. Identify your client’s needs – Based on the answers to the above questions, you can guide the client through your products and services and identify the best solution for them. This might be one of your pre-made packages or it might be a custom package for your client. But if you know their needs, you know what to suggest.

4. Highlight possible solutions – At this point, you might offer a few different solutions for your client. Don’t be afraid at this point to highlight the solution of a competitor. In this day and age, price is often a concern. Don’t be afraid to point out that the client could save money by going to a less expensive competitor. Just be sure to point out the benefits of your service over the cheaper service. Anyone can offer any two of the following: great product, great service or a cheap price. It is physically impossible to do all three. So, don’t be afraid to charge for your products and services.

5. Weigh the costs and benefits – This is the point where you really need to point out the benefits based on the cost of your services. A Honda Accord is less expensive than a BMW for a reason. It is your job to explain why your service is more expensive or cheaper than your competition and what that price difference means for the client. More professional experience on the wedding day? Better designed albums? Better album binding?

6. Address Client questions and concerns – When a client starts asking questions about price or seems concerned about prices, photographers often think that they are losing the sale and start discounting. Once a client starts asking specific questions or pointing out specific concerns, that means they are ready to buy. They simply are justifying the expense. Help them justify it. Address the concern, ask them if that answers their question. Then move to the close.

7. Close – Once people are ready to buy, if you keep selling, they change their mind. Get used to telling when a client is ready to buy. Once they are, close the sale. “So, have you decided on which package?”. “So, we’re doing the 12×18? album?” “So, you’re going with package B?” These are all closing phrases. Use them.