Posts Tagged ‘Illinois’
How to decide on which type of digital photography camera and features are best for you.
There are basically 4 types of digital photography cameras that a Photographer may purchase. This article will explain the differences with the camera types, the pros and cons, and the cost range for each. The 4 types are: Point and shoot, compact point and shoot, super zoom & Single lens reflex (SLR) which is the most expensive and would be more for the advanced amateur or professional wedding or portrait photographer. All of today’s digital cameras can also shoot video as well. The quality of the video recorded will vary with the type of digital camera. All of the below cameras have replaceable digital media. SD, compact flash, XD and memory stick duo pro are the types of media that these cameras record on. All of the below camera types have built in flashes only the SLR can use a separate more powerful on camera flash. I will also cover Flip cameras, which are essentially hybrids of photo and inexpensive video cameras. I will also explain all of the features that all these digital cameras have so you can make the wisest decision on what digital camera to buy.
The point and shoot cameras “PAS”
The point and shoot “PAS” camera is by far the most popular type of digital photography camera. They are also the least expensive ($45 to $300) and they give you the largest bang for the buck. These cameras have a permanently attached zoom lens that ranges from 3x to 5x (the number before the x means how many times the image is zoomed in from the widest setting on the zoom) so they are great for general photography purposes. The size of these cameras is small enough for a coat pocket but a little snug for a pants pocket because the zoom lens retracts into the camera. This mechanical telescoping zoom makes it hard to make a very thin camera (.7 inches) and if you want a camera that is thin enough for pants pocket consider the compact point and shoot “CPAS”. The sensor/lens size averages to about 1/3 to 1/ 2.3 of an inch, the larger the sensor and lens the better the pictures quality regardless of mega pixels. “PAS” are between zoom cameras and compact point and shoot in size and weight (about 4.5 ounces on average). These cameras have only an LCD on the back of the camera for a viewfinder; these cameras are not equipped with an optical viewfinder. There are the full mega pixel range represented with “PAS” cameras from 8 to 18 megapixels. Thease cameras are for general photographic use where objects are reasonably close to the photographer. This is a great kind of camera to bring to photograph a wedding.
Pros. Large enough to take great photos, small enough to take everywhere you go. Best selection and price offerings. The sensor and lens size is much larger than for the compact point and shoots. Better ergonomics and photo quality than compact point and shoots. Power zoom. Cons. Much thicker and larger than compact point and shoots. Annoying shutter lag between pressing the shutter and taking the photo. No way to change the lens or its zoom ratio. The motorized mechanical lens that telescopes out of the camera when the camera is turned on can be a major place that may need service in the future. No optical viewfinder.
Compact Point and shoot “CPAS”
The compact Point and shoot “CPAS” camera is very popular because of its portability, robustness and compactness. “CPAS” cameras have all the advantages that regular “PAS” cameras have except they are 40% thinner and are lighter as well. The price range is about the same as “PAS” cameras except these cameras usually have fewer features than a similarly priced “PAS” camera. The major difference is ‘CPAS” cameras have a smaller lens and image sensor so there is no mechanism that moves the lens telescope out from the camera, like on a “PAS” camera. There is usually a sliding cover that protects the lens that also turn on the ‘CPAS” camera. Having a non-telescoping zoom makes the zoom more reliable because it moves internally and can’t be broken during the telescoping process. The trade off is the lens is smaller in diameter and the imaging chip is also a little smaller too. Having smaller lens diameter and chip makes the camera worse in low light and the picture will have more noise regardless of the mega-pixels of the camera. Because these cameras have simpler optical systems, waterproof and underwater variants are available for underwater shooting with a “CPAS”. These cameras have improved over the years, although they are optically inferior to “PAS” cameras with their telescoping lenses, some of these cameras have as large of a sensor as a “PAS camera (1/ 2.3”). These cameras are for general photographic use but are better when the photographer needs to keep the camera portable and robust. I-phones and cell phone cameras are in this category.
PROS. Smallest cameras available and also the most robust. The lack of a telescoping zoom makes for a more reliable zoom lens. Some of these cameras are waterproof. CONS: Worse picture quality and less low light ability than other types of cameras. Less camera features than “PAS” cameras Less of a zoom ratio than “PAS” cameras. No optical viewfinder. CPAS get an annoying shutter lag when taking a photo.
Super zoom cameras or “SZC”
Super zoom cameras or “SZC” and (“SLR like” cameras that can change lenses) are a growing and changing category of digital photography cameras. Super zoom cameras are essentially a Point and shoot camera with a beefed up zoom lens. These cameras are much less portable and more expensive than “PAS” cameras ($180 to $475) because instead of having a zoom that simply telescopes out, the lens is always out and bigger than the rest of the camera. These cameras have a zoom ratio that ranges from 5x to 36x for extreme close-ups and wider wide shots. Most (but not all) of these cameras have permanently attached zoom lenses that dominate the camera body and form factor of the camera. These cameras also have a larger image sensor so they get better image quality and low light ability than the point and shoot cameras. These cameras usually have 2 different viewfinders, one with a 2.7” to 3.0” LCD like on the “PAS” camera and one with an eyepiece electronic viewfinder that is a .24” lcd with a diopter for adjusting for your vision. This eyepiece electronic viewfinder differs from a SLR digital camera viewfinder because on an SLR, the eyepiece is actually looking through a mirror and prism to see directly through the lens. The “SZC” is less precise in focusing and is less responsive and less expensive than a digital SLR camera. Some SLR “like” cameras have interchangeable lenses but they still have an electronic eyepiece instead of seeing directly out of the SLR’s lens. These proprietary interchangeable lenses are not compatible with other lens systems from the same manufacturer. This would be a great type of camera to bring to photograph a wedding where you can’t get close enough to the subject to get a good close shot.
PROS: Better zoom ration and picture quality than less expensive “PAS” cameras. More responsive, better video recording and better features than “PAS” cameras. The power zoom makes for different shots when shooting video. “SZC” cameras have the best zoom ratio because SLR lenses are more expensive and can’t zoom in as much. Less shutter lag than “PAS” cameras CONS: The lack of seeing through the lens makes these cameras less precise for focus than SLRs. More shutter lag than SLR cameras (but less then “PAS” cameras). Most cameras don’t allow change of lenses. These cameras are much less portable than “PAS” and “CPAS” cameras.
Single lens reflex cameras “SLR”
Single lens reflex cameras are the largest, most sophisticated and most expensive type of digital camera. Range from ($500 to $8,000) SLRs are different from the previous type of camera “SZC” because they have an optical viewfinder (not electronic) that has an internal mirror that flips out of the way during the exposure and a prism that rights the image for the photographer to see the actual image going trough the lens. When the Professional photographer or advanced amateur takes a photo, when he presses the shutter release the mirror that is reflecting the image into the optical viewfinder flips up and simultaneously a mechanical shutter exposes the larger imaging chip to light and creating the exposure. This action of moving a mirror and having a mechanical shutter makes a SLR camera much more complicated than other digital cameras that don’t have a mechanical shutter or mirror flipping mechanism. This extra mechanism burns up batteries and makes the SLR a little less reliable than other types of digital cameras. Because of the more precise optical viewfinder and the instant shutter response. and the ability to change lenses, makes SLR’s the only choice for professional photographers. Also the size of the sensor is many times larger than all of the other types of cameras. One comparison is that an older SLR with only 6 megapixels can take better pictures than a newer“PAS” camera with 18 megapixels, because the sensor size is many times larger on the digital SLR. One other feature, although all the other camera types have built in flashes, most SLRs also have a built in flip up flash. SLRs also have the ability to add a larger on camera flash that is 10 times more powerfull than the built in flash. One new feature of SLR cameras of late is the ability for the camera to show the image on the LCD instead of on the optical eyepiece called “live view”. This makes the SLR operate like a point and shoot camera for certain shots where your eye can’t reach the eyepiece. The other addition to the features of SLRs is the ability to shoot high definition video with the same Digital SLRs. The superior quality of the larger chip with a SLR and the larger format lens makes SLR’s get a better picture quality than conventional 3-chip video cameras. The draw back of SLR’s shooting video is that the record time is only 10 to 20 minutes as opposed to the 60 or 90 minute record time on a conventional video camcorder. SLRs are what professional portrait and sports photographers would shoot with.
PROS: Best quality photos, best quality video, most precise for focus, iris, shutter speed. The ability to change lenses & add a professional on camera flash. There is almost no shutter lag with an SLR. The most complicated to use, but the best ability to do a manual setting. Professional wedding photographers use SLRs exclusively. These cameras can shoot in camera RAW for better looking photos that are uncompressed. CONS: Most expensive, least portable, worst battery drain, the mechanical shutter makes noise, the mechanical shutter and mirror flipper makes this type of camera less reliable. You need to buy extra lenses for this camera and you will need several to do every type of professional shot that a professional Chicago wedding photographer can do. The zoom is manual not powered so it is tough to do an on camera zoom when in video mode.
Flip style video and photo cameras
Flip style video and photo cameras are quite popular now. Flip cameras (flip is a brand name, but there are many imitators that are similar) cost from $100 to $200 and they usually have the media built in. They have 4 Gigabites or 8 Gigabites depending on if it is a 1 hour or 2 hour unit. Instead of using replaceable Compact Flash and SD cards, these cameras have built in memory and a flip out USB 2 interface to get video out of the camera. These cameras have a vertical form factor (as opposed to a horizontal form factor for still cameras). They also have a thumb zoom control to operate the measly 2x digital zoom. The type of video compression that these use is H264, which is more, advanced than Motion Jpeg (that the less expensive digital photo cameras record on). These cameras have a simple video-editing program built into the system so you can do simple editing right on the flip camera. The problem with these cameras they have no optical zoom and they shoot still photos at a mere 1 megapixel. Most cell phone cameras shoot at 3 megapixels. I also don’t like the fact that these cameras can’t change media, so once you filled the memory, the camera can’t record more without deleting or downloading.
PROS: Great video compression like SLR video using the more advanced H264 for high definition quality. These cameras have built in editing software so you can edit a finished video right in the camera. This camera is very easy to use. High definition video CONS: Only 1 megapixel stills makes it a video camera only. No optical zoom means you have to he close to the action to get the subject a decent size in the frame. I would not shoot a wedding where the wedding videographer is restricted on where he can go. The fact that you can’t replace the media, once you shot the full memory of the camera you can’t shoot anything else without deleting or downloading. The 2” screen is smaller than most digital cameras.
Some digital camera features explained
LCD size: The larger the LCD screen the better. These screens range from 2 inch to 3.5 inch diagonal. A larger LCD can indicate a problem with a photo that was taken. The better resolution and size of the LCD will enable the photographer to make better corrections in the field. Most cameras can zoom into the image on the LCD to see if a photo is in focus and to see it there is any blur caused by motion and a too slow shutter speed. There is a hugh difference between a 2” lcd and a 3” lcd because when you double the hypotenuse of a right triangle you quadruple the surface area of the screen. So a 2” LCD is 1/4th the size of a 4” lcd screen.
Optical stabilization: This feature has a jelly filled lens that optically counteracts any camera shake that is picked up by a sensor that senses camera shake. This feature fixes shaky video footage and can enable the photographer or videographer to shoot at a lower shutter speeds for still photos. This makes still pictures have less camera shake than without optical stabilizers. This feature runs down the battery more than not using this feature, however with electronic stabilization the picture zooms in by 20% which affects the picture quality of the finished product.
Face detection: This enables cameras to recognize a human face and this enables the camera to know what is where the human face is, and makes exposure and focus adjustments based on the human face being the subject of the photo. This feature does not work well when shooting a face in profile because the artificial intelligence of the camera only sees one eye.
Optical Zoom Ratio: Zoom ratio shown with a number like 12x means how many times closer a camera can get to the subject with just the onboard zoom. The wideness of a zoom before the camera zooms in is also an issue because the wider a lens, the less you have to back up to include a large group of people. Zoom ratio is shown in both optical, which optically makes things closer. Electronic zoom is a virtual way to zoom into an object but electronic zoom loses picture quality based on how much you are zoomed in. Electronic zoom should be avoided because it makes for worse picture quality.
Scene modes: Most cameras have preset settings for specific situations for photography. IE for a fast moving sports mode, the camera would automatically use a faster shutter speed. A mode for shooting sunsets would make the camera better in low light and would turn off the flash because the sunset is out of range of the flash. Scene modes are more of a consumer feature than a feature for a professional photographer.
In camera Effects modes: Is an in-camera feature that enables the photographer to do Photoshop type effects right in the camera. This enables the amateur photographer to do professional effects and print them remotely without needing or using the computer.
Movie Mode: This is a great feature of most all-digital photography cameras. Shooting video on most cameras is lower quality than most video cameras but it just great for the Internet. This means the decision to buy a photo or video camera is less of a decision today. I have found that digital still cameras do a better job of shooting video, than dedicated video cameras do at shooting still photos. Today’s high tech high end Digital SLRs actually shoot better video than video cameras. These SLRs include the Canon 5D mark II and the Nikon D5100 and D7000 that can shoot incredible looking high definition video. The record time of photo cameras has been limited to under 30 minutes for import tax reasons.
Burst Mode: This is a mode on a camera that can shoot many photos quickly so you can capture an important scene with as many photos as possible. The more burst photos a camera can do the better.
Megapixels: The more the megapixels the better for taking great quality photos. 6 megapixels is equivalent to 400 asa film in grain and resolution. I have seen cameras for consumers that are as much as 18 megapixels. This is misleading, because the size of the imaging chip has as more effect on the picture quality than the megapixels. After all, a 6 megapixel SLR with a 1.3 inch sensor can get a much better picture quality than a 18 megapixel camera that has only a 1/3 inch sensor. Remember don’t pay too much for a lot of megapixels on a consumer camera that has smaller imaging chips. Bigger chips always improve picture quality.
Battery type: Some cameras take proprietary batteries that only work in that camera. This is good but you have to have spare batteries for the chance of running out of power. Some cameras take double AA rechargeable batteries. These cameras can have an advantage because once the AA rechargeable batteries die, you can just use regular alkaline AA batteries that are either disposable or rechargeable. Cameras that take AA rechargeable batteries can be more versatile than the others that take special batteries.
Professional external hot shoe Flash: All SLR’s and a few super zoom cameras has the ability to add a more powerful professional flash onto the hot shoe of the camera. This is a good idea because most pop-up flashes and SLRs and “SZCs” are pretty underpowered and can’t really properly expose something over 12 feet. The Canon or Nikon Professional flashes run about $300 to $500 depending on power and features of the external flash.
Power Zoom: Most digital cameras that are not SLR’s do have a power zoom. This means you just push a zoom in button to zoom in or out. This makes it harder to get a perfect focal length as you have to stop exactly where you like the focal length. With SLR’s the lens has a manual twist control for zoom. The zoom on an SLR is more exacting, but since there is no motor, when you are shooing video, the zoom speed may be choppy. A power zoom on a non SLR camera is nice for shooting video because you can do a smoother zoom than by rotating the lens barrel on an SLR.
Live view (for SLRs): This has been a feature for all digital cameras except for SLRs since the beginning. The consumer can actually view the live moving images on the back LCD screen while framing the photo. This was not the case for SLR’s because they have a mechanical shutter AND a mirror that flips up to enable the photographer to see right through the lens. With the advent of Live view for SLR’s the SLR actually locks up the mirror and the shutter and enables the photographer to frame the photo while watching a live image on the back LCD screen. Because the mirror and the shutter is locked up, you can’t use the optical eyepiece viewfinder until the camera goes out of “live view” mode. Live view on SLR’s makes shooting video possible on these incredible SLR cameras. SLRs can sometimes get a much better picture than conventional video camcorders.
Waterproof- Water resistant: This feature will enable the photographer to shoot photos and or video either underwater or near the water. These cameras are usually compact point and shoot cameras that do not have complicated telescoping lenses. This feature will enable the photo enthusiast to easily take underwater photos that used to take a lot of equipment to shoot underwater.
Shock proof: This a great feature too, similar to above, the camera is a “CPAS” type camera that is made to take shock and abuse. Many shockproof cameras are also waterproof. These cameras can take the abuse needed to get these cameras into the field and the photographer does not have to worry about ruining his equipment when taking his equipment into hostile environments.
Dust reduction: This is a feature of SLR’s only. Only SLR’s can change the lens and this makes it possible to get dust on the exposed sensor while changing lenses. This sensor needs to be cleaned to keep the dust from making black spots on the finished Jpeg file. When the professional photographer notices a problem with dust collecting on the sensor. He opens the lens and hits the sensor cleaning button. The camera will vibrate and or spray air on the sensor to self clean the sensor in the field. Cleaning a sensor manually is too much work to do in the field. That is why this newer feature is so important
Ergonomics: The way a camera feels in the hand, how easy is it to work the controls. This us one of those things that is different for every person. Make sure the camera works easy for you. I once bought a camera that was designed for the index finger to work the zoom, however the camera also was designed for the same index finger to hit the shutter AND the autofocus. This made the camera hard to work for me because the index finger was doing all the work with the thumb doing nothing. I returned the camera and got one where the thumb was controlling the zoom and the separate index finger presses the shutter and auto focus. Always try out a camera in your hand before decideing on which camera is right for you, your hand and your eyes.
I hope now the consumer has a better idea of what type of camera to purchase and what features are important to you. This guide does not claim one brand over another, yet I feel that Nikon, Canon and Sony are the leading companies that make great cameras that are updating all the time. Try a camera in the store and see how if feels in your hand. Once you have decided which is best for you it is time to go online and see who has the best price who won’t rip you off. I have had nothing but good luck with B&H camera and video who is the largest camera seller in the USA.
This article is written by Bob Busch, he is a professional wedding photographer with 26 years experience and he has sold consumer electronics and has advised many of the purchase of consumer photographic equipment.
Copyright Robert M. Busch and Milestone Photo and video. 2011 all rights reserved. No part of this article may be used without direct written permission from Robert M. Busch.
Milestone Photo and video includes an outdoor engagement photo session (in the western suburbs extra charge for downtown engagement photos $100) with the full day 10 hour (or less) Chicago wedding photography package. This package is $1399, you get to keep all the photos on DVD (in 2 resolutions) that the Chicago wedding photographer takes regardless of how many, an 8″x10″ leather photo album,photo montage DVD that shows the best photos that the photographer took, a 13″x19″ engagement photo print. The following photos are examples of photos we took at Adler Planetarium: Adler is an awesome place to shoot photos. Check out Milestone ‘s wedding website.Adler is awesome for the Chicago wedding couple who want their photos shot if front of the Chicago skyline. This is an awesome location to shoot engagement photos for the Chicago skyline. This day it was hazy making the Chicago engagement photo session a good one.
Milestone Photo and video includes an outdoor engagement photo session with the full day 10 hour (or less) Chicago wedding photography package. This package is $1399, you get to keep all the photos on DVD (in 2 resolutions) that the Chicago wedding photographer takes regardless of how many, an 8″x10″ leather photo album,photo montage DVD that shows the best photos that the photographer took, a 13″x19″ engagement photo print. The following photos are examples of photos we took at Churchill woods: Churchill woods is an awesome place to shoot photos. Check out Milestone ‘s wedding website. Churchhill has the rustic look of a camping trip and a lake. It is awesome to do engagement photos of the outdoors minded engagement couple.
Milestone Photo and video includes an outdoor engagement photo session with the full day 10 hour (or less) Chicago wedding photography package. This package is $1399, you get to keep all the photos on DVD (in 2 resolutions) that the Chicago wedding photographer takes regardless of how many, an 8″x10″ leather photo album,photo montage DVD that shows the best photos that the photographer took, a 13″x19″ engagement photo print. The following photos are examples of photos we took at Lilacia Park: Lilacia Park is an awesome place to shoot photos. Check out Milestone
Questions for engaged couples to ask a Chicago wedding Photographer.
- Does your wedding photographer allow you to keep and own (on DVD) all the photos he shoots? Milestone does with every package (even short day). Some wedding photography companies have hidden charges or have minimum orders (some as high as $3000) for the couple to own the photos on DVD.
- Does your wedding photographer correct in Photoshop all the photos he takes? Many times the photo a bride likes best is considered a reject by the photographer. Milestone does not assume what you will like and they correct AND provide all the photos that the Chicago wedding photographer takes.
- Does your wedding photographer create Jpeg files in 2 RESOLUTIONS? Having your photos in 2 resolutions has the best of both worlds. Use the large files for making prints that are over 8″x10″. Use the smaller files for quick viewing, archiving, emailing, slow computers, situations where hard drive space is at a premium. Milestone gives you photos in 2 resolutions, no one I know of else does.
- Does you wedding photographer make you order all the wedding photos off their website? (TRICK QUESTION) When you order from THEIR website the wedding photo company can charge any price they want for reprints. Check their price range per photo (8×10′s for $8-$12) and compare with the completive prices at Wal-mart (8×10′s for $2) and Shutterfly. Milestone Photo and video allows the bridal couple to post the photos anywhere they want for the most completive prices for reorders. We require that you list Milestone as the photographer on your shutterfly page to give us photo credit.
- Does your photographer include a video photo montage on DVD of the best 150 to 300 photos set to music? Milestone includes a wedding DVD of the best photos that the photographer took during your wedding day set to music with chapters and menus.
- Is your Photographer experienced with taking wedding photos at your particular church or reception hall? Check out our photo gallery, it is arranged alphabetically by reception hall.
- Is you wedding photographer capable of shooting different styles of photography? IE: Traditional posed, Avant-garde posed, corny/cheezy posed, semi-posed, still life, Dramatic/deep focus, photojournalist.
- Does your wedding photographer charge extra for stops along the way between the ceremony and the reception? Milestone will go to up to 7 locations through out the day.
- Does your photographer experiment with all types of lighting techniques? Many other photographers use just one lighting technique for all situations. Basic flash for all photos makes for boring and flat looking photos. Or I have seen some who shoot with existing light for all photos, which looks cool and natural sometimes, but at other times can be grainy and unflattering on older people. Milestone uses many types of lighting techniques, IE: on camera flash (with diffuser), bounce flash, existing light, existing light with fill flash and Flash backlighting which has a halo of light surrounding the bride and groom.
- Does your photographer allow your guests to shoot their own photos during a wedding photo session? Many of the largest companies in Chicagoland (that charge extra for wedding photographs) do not allow guests to shoot over the photographer’s shoulder. Milestone will allow other photographers to shoot the same poses.
- Does your photographer do research on the internet to find out what are the newest, cutest and most innovative poses out there? Milestone does this research and we bring examples with us printed up to show the bridal party how to pose on some of the more innovative and complicated poses that we do.
- Does your photographer use flash diffusers to mellow the harsh flash and make wrinkles, pimples and lines look less noticeable? Milestone uses the Gary Fong Lighsphere light diffuser and the Lumiquest 80/20 diffuser.
- Can your photographer take extra shots of young children while they are behaving, and photoshop those children’s photos into group shots for posed shots that the child was not present for? (or was misbehaving during a photo session) Milestone does this often and this can be seen on our website galleries
- Does your photographer have a super-wide fisheye lens that can take ultra-wide 180 degree photographs or entire rooms? Milestone is equipped with several of these lenses that can distort reality, let leave people looking normal and not fat. We have a gallery dedicated to this type of extreme creative wide angle shot.
- Does your photographer have the ability to bring different height stools to layer people for photographs of large groups. This is important at reception halls that have no stairs. Milestone has these stools. Just let us know if there is no stair case.
- Does your Photographer know the area with (26 years wedding experience) of your wedding or reception an will he be able to suggest a cool outdoor photo location between the ceremony and reception?
- Does your wedding photographer shoot the posed altar photos in “Camera RAW” for better quality? This enables his pictures to have more dynamic range, ability to blow up and crop, and the ability to change exposure by a full 3 f-stops. Milestone uses camera RAW for posed altar photos.
- Does your Chicago wedding photographer give a large discount when you also book videography from the same company? Milestone discounts combining photo and video by $100 off the top. Then Milestone video will include a free unmanned second video camera a $150 value!
- Does your wedding photographer shoot a free OUTDOOR engagement photo session? an outdoor engagement photo session will look more natural and modern than an old fashioned portrait in front of a background in a studio. We shoot these at Lilacia park in Lombard or Churchill woods forest preserve.
- What is the size of the provided print of the engagement photo that the wedding photographer makes. The bigger the photo the better. Milestone prints the largest engagement picture and mat for signing at the reception . Our print is 19″x 13″ and the black sign able mat is 20″x30″.
- Is your Photographer equipped with plenty of back-up camera bodies, lenses and flashes?
Copyright 2011 By Robert M. Busch and Milestone Photo & Video All rights reserved. No Part of this article my be used without written permission from Robert M. Busch.
Tips on how to plan a time efficient and cost cutting wedding to get the most our of your time and money.
- Make an itinerary on what is happening on your wedding day, make this schedule realistic and make sure there is enough time to do all the things on the list. This schedule should be given to all your vendors. If you can’t keep to the schedule don’t fret it is just a guideline to know what activities are important to you.
- Find a reception hall that is somewhat close to your church and possibly also near an outdoor photography location too (see our other blogs). This way all the locations will be quick to get to and a lot of time is not wasted on traveling from one place to another. This will same on some gas and limo service as well.
- Don’t cut corners with your only two records from this most important wedding day. Wedding Photography and wedding videography are your only record of the day.
- Do a (practice) drive from one location to another on the same day of the week as your wedding day. This will give you a guideline for how long it takes to get from one location to another. Use this information in your itinerary and invitation.
- Consider hiring wedding vendors that offer multiple services. Many companies offer big discounts on booking multiple wedding services on the same day at the same location. Milestone offers $250 in savings a for couples who book BOTH wedding photography and wedding videography on the same date.
- Shop for your reception hall on a Saturday during the normal wedding season. Dress properly for a wedding and you can check out these halls like a guest. Take a look in the rooms and see how they are decorated and how the food is served.
- Have a tasting at the hall on an actual wedding day to see how the actual food will taste. Bring others to have then give their opinion on the taste of the food.
- Consider writing and printing your own invitations. You must use expensive paper or parchment to give an expensive look.
- Wedding consultants and planners are great for organizing your wedding day, however they can be expensive. Some consultants require a “kick-back” from the vendors that they recommend. These “kick-back” consultants should be avoided because they should recommend vendors based solely on the vendors service quality not a “kick-back”. Consider hiring a less expensive “day of” wedding consultant. They will help with making an itinerary and getting things to run smoothly on your important wedding day. Another idea is have a friend who previously had a well-run and memorable wedding be your guide. She will make YOUR wedding day just a well-run and memorable. Friends have some great suggestions.
- Make a note of what romantic songs are important to you. That way you can make good suggestions to your DJ, band or videographer on what music to use on your most important wedding day. DJs play an average of 45 songs during an average wedding reception, so choose wisely.
- Make sure your wedding photographer allows you to keep and own your wedding photographs on DVD. Some wedding photography companies require that the couple order a certain amount of photographs (sometimes $3,000 worth) for the couple to have full rights and a DVD of the corrected wedding photographs.
- Consider having your wedding on a Sunday or Friday instead of a Saturday which is more popular. Also consider having your wedding in a slow month between November and April. Having your wedding on these less demanding times will earn you 10% discount for an off season or Sunday/Friday wedding. To save even more have your wedding on a weekday. This can save you up to 40% as well. Also your guests will have less conflicts when your wedding is the only one on a certain day. Milestone Photo and Video has offered may discounts for this in the past.
- If you are having trouble affording Limousines, consider hiring the limo starting AFTER the ceremony and having them just drive you to the reception and the service would finish at the beginning of the reception. Limiting the amount of time of the limo service (and the mileage) will lower the price of the service. The photographer will still have to limo for photos after the ceremony and at the reception.
- For a great way to entertain your guests at the reception consider showing a photo montage of old photos of the bride and groom growing up over the years at the wedding reception. This can be presented on a monitor during the cocktail hour or projected on a big screen during dinner. Milestone can do a montage and show it during the reception
- Send a “save the date” pre-invite card out before the actual invitation. This will make sure that your guests will reserve your wedding date BEFORE they receive your formal invitation. These “save the date” cards consist of a 4″x6″ photo usually an engagement photo of the couple and the date of the future wedding they should be sent about 9 months before the wedding date. Milestone Photo and video has made some great “save the date” cards in the past for a nominal charge.
- Consider picking out bridesmaids dresses that don’t look like obvious bridesmaids dresses. That way your bridesmaids will feel more comfortable and they can wear their investment on another occasion saving your bridesmaids money on clothing.
- Don’t plan your wedding on Super bowl Sunday or other day that may distract your guests or cause them not to show because of a date conflict.
- Instead of an expensive photo booth, have your photographer bring a separate photographer who only shoots portraits and group shots all over the reception and prints the photos at the reception just like a photo booth. Milestone can provide this service as well.
- Portillo’s makes great chocolate Chicago wedding cake. This cake is much less expensive than other wedding cake alternatives. You will need several Portillo’s chocolate bunt cakes depending on the number of guests at your wedding.
- You do not need to pay (directly) for a meal for your wedding vendors (photographer, videographer, DJ). You need to tell you hall that you have 2 or 3 vendors that need to eat but don’t include them in your guest count. On the wedding date these vendors will take the meals or places of your no-shows. In the event of all people showing the hall should still be aware that these vendors need to eat and they should be able to accommodate these vendors.
- A lot of time is wasted getting guests from ceremony to the reception. Consider moving the wedding ceremony to the reception site. This is especially good for couples who do not regularly attend church or are not very religious or are short on time for their wedding. Rev. Phil Landers, of I do weddings a professional wedding reverend, can be a perform a scripted and personalized wedding ceremony that the guests will remember.
- For your honeymoon trip, book an all inclusive package so there are to surprise charges for room and food.
- DJs charge much less than Bands, and do a better job of keeping the wedding well structured. Bands offer a more personalized service, but choose one that gets things done according to your itinerary.
- If the couple likes the look of chair covers that cost as much as $6 per chair. Try to find a reception hall that will throw it in as a bonus.
- To save money on a sign in book; hire a photographer who provides a free sign in Engagement photo that the guests sign around the edge of the engagement photo. Milestone makes an 19″x13″ engagement photo mounted on a 20″x30″ black matt that guests sign with gold and silver pens.
Copyright 2011 By Robert M. Busch and Milestone Photo & Video All rights reserved. No Part of this article my be used without written permission from Robert M. Busch.
How to look your best in your wedding day photographs.
- Have the photographer shoot posed photos in the shade because the direct sun can give extra wrinkles. On a sunny day shoot wedding posed shots with the sun behind you or in the shade. “Milestone Photo” photographers always look for shade or create it with a fold up diffuser.
- Don’t have a friend do photography or videography at your wedding. You want them to enjoy themselves and they will be distracted by all of their friends at your wedding. If they do not do a good job, it may also get in the way of your friendship. Always trust a professional who does not know people there and won’t be distracted by your guests.
- Have the photographer shoot the posed photos in “Camera RAW” (instead of using Jpeg for posed photos) which enables the photographer to have better dynamic range and exposure. Milestone photo and video shoots posed photos in camera RAW whenever possible for the best quality wedding photographs possible.
- Do not chew gum in photos. You will look like you are chewing gum in photos.
- Do not over tan yourself for your wedding. You still want to look like YOU.
- Find out the rules of the church before you book them for a wedding. Churches that do not allow flash to be used during the wedding, or restrict the amount of time for photographs after the wedding, should be avoided.
- Look through bridal magazines and websites and determine what types of wedding photos you like most. If you like corny-cheesy posed shots or modern avant-garde shots or traditional old fashioned posed photos, (or just candid) tell (and show) the photographer what types of shots you like best. Photographers don’t always know what you like till you tell them.
- Have a professional makeup artist and Hair stylist for your wedding day for the bride, bridesmaids, mother of bride and others who would benefit. Give extra time for this because stylists can be late. They will give you a more dramatic look than the everyday look you get when doing your own makeup. Covering tattoos and zits is a specialty of many makeup artists.
- Have a bridesmaid armed with matching makeup to do touch ups through out the day.
- Do not have too large of bangs that hang down on your face. This is because this can cause shadows on your face that are not seen when you look in the mirror. Check your hairstyle and makeup in all types of lighting.
- Hire a wedding photographer who a variety lighting techniques. You don’t want all your photos to look the same. Get a photographer who does bounce flash, existing lighting, flash assisted existing light, direct flash, flash backlighting. If all the photographers photographs look flat and don’t have a natural look, he is using direct flash only. There are some photographers who shoot without a flash at all (existing light only). This is not a good idea because while some existing light photos look great. However taking only existing light photographs can be grainy and can be unflattering in harsh light. You want a variety of lighting techniques like Milestone Photo and video. We use many different flash techniques all day long.
- Do your makeup under the same light as you will be seen. I.E. If it is a daytime wedding with a lot of natural light at the reception, you would apply makeup under similar lighting. Having a night time wedding you would apply makeup under indoor looking lighting.
- Do a practice of how to bustle the wedding dress before the wedding day. I have seen dozens of brides who did not know how to bustle the dress until the wedding day and it wasted an hour of the wedding figuring it out . If the bride and friends cant figure it out the bride will have to carry the train around the whole reception.
- Have a sewing kit with scissors/needles/safety pins on hand with both Black and white thread (and bridesmaid’s color too) to fix last minute wardrobe malfunctions in your wedding photos.
- Carry “Tide” or “shout” stain wipes or even baby wipes to get any stains out of dresses and tuxedos. Be careful getting in and out of the limo watch for door grease.
- If pictures are shot at the bride’s house before the wedding, make sure the flowers are delivered to the brides house (not the church) so the photographer can use the flowers for the bride’s photos at the house.
- The tradition of the groom not seeing the bride before the wedding is outdated and is an Arabic tradition. Shooting photos of the bride and groom together before the wedding, gets things out of the way and makes more time for enjoying the celebration of the party after the wedding. There is a lot of things that can get done sooner when this old and foreign tradition is ignored.
- Get a dress that matches and flatters your figure type. Consider buying a custom dress made just for you by a quality company like Priscilla of Boston in Oak Brook Terrace IL. (On 22nd street 2 blocks west of Oak Brook Mall)
- Pick a bridesmaid dress color that is flattering to a majority of the bridesmaids. If some don’t look good in that color, consider multi color brides maid dresses.
- Do not concern yourself with things you can’t change like the weather or who shows up. Just relax and enjoy the day. When you are happy, you will look happy in the wedding photographs.
- Don’t get distracted during photos sessions. If you try to micromanage during the photo session, you might be looking elsewhere instead of looking at the wedding photographers lens.
- Consider a reception hall that has stairs to layer people for large group photographs. Stairs can layer up to 100 people in one great photograph.
- Hire a photographer who shoots engagement photos. You need to practice the various poses for your wedding day. Your photographer will instruct you on the poses during your engagement shots. After looking at the engagement shots you will know which poses look best for you and your future spouse. Milestone photo and video shoots engagement photos with all full day packages.
- Hire a photographer who corrects and provides ALL the photos he takes. You may prefer one of the photographers rejects. Milestone corrects and provides all photos. Couples get to keep all photos with all packages with Milestone!
- If there is time and weather permitting, consider going to an outdoor location that is designed for wedding photography. See our other blogs to find a suitable outdoor or indoor wedding photo location.
- Consider a reception hall that has a gazebo or small picturesque outdoor area so you won’t have to go elsewhere for cool outdoor photographs during the reception.
- DO not schedule your wedding on super bowl Sunday, or other date when your guests may be distracted by the game.
Copyright 2011 By Robert M. Busch and Milestone Photo & Video All rights reserved. No Part of this article my be used without written permission from Robert M. Busch.
Worth Metro Water Reclamation District.
Worth Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Worth IL. It is located at 115th & Harlem just of the bridge on the east side. This place is awesome, it is free to use for wedding photographers in Chicago, you just need to call 312-751-5600 and get permission to shoot there. There are several bridges, several layers of water falls, and many weeping willow trees. There is also a building that has posts and a cool vanishing point in the shade. PROS: Free use, waterfalls, not used as much as other places, it ahs many places to shoot with waterfalls, lakes, trees and bridges as scenery. This is a great place for a Chicago wedding photographer to shoot wedding photos in the sounth Chicago suburbs. Cons: none Check out: http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/Georgios_Orthodox/ and http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/Garden_Chalet/
Oak Lawn City Hall Gazebo
Oak Lawn City Hall (Gazebo), Oak Lawn IL. Oak lawn city hall is located just north of 95th street at 9446 South Raymond avenue, Oak Lawn IL. The actual Gazebo is right behind the City Hall. Please call 708-636-4400 for info on permission to shoot here. I love this place, though it is not very popular so you won’t have to fight the crowds to shoot here. I took this picture around Christmas and it looked awesome. There is a large field lined with bushes and at one end, a huge gazebo, decorated with Christmas lights! PROS: Gazebo is great for shade, Located right by 95th street, Christmas lights lend a mood for night shots. I do not think there is a fee to shoot there. CONS: Not alot of shade aside from the gazebo: check out the photos athttp://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/
Lake Katherine Palos Heights IL, It is located off Route 83 at:7402 Lake Katherine Drive Palos Heights, IL For permission to shoot there call (708) 361-1873 there is a $75 fee to shoot there. Lake Katherine is a great place to shoot Chicago wedding photography in the south Chicago suburbs. It features Gardens, a great multi-stage waterfall, wooded areas. a bridge and some nice shady areas. PROS: Shady, waterfall, beautiful flowers, grassy areas. CONS: It costs $75 to shoot there. Chcek out Milestone photo and video’s photos there http://www.milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/g114/
Fabyan Forest Preserve Geneva:1925 S. Batavia Ave. (RTE 25) Geneva IL. Fabian Forrest preserve is on the eastern banks of the scenic Fox River in Geneva. This pretty yet Unknown park features Scenic views of the Fox River and mini lighthouse, trees, shade, huge lawns, a bridge over the river and a beautiful restored Windmill built in 1875 and (featured on a famous stamp) that really works and you can even explore its workings. Pros: Shade, River views, Beautiful Lawns, Windmill is one of the nicest in Chicagoland, Undiscovered site has very few others taking pictures (no waiting) Cons: Long walk to picture area.
Philips Park Aurora
Philips Park is located at 901 ray moses drive Aurora IL. Philips park is a multi use park that has a zoo, golf course and sunken gardens.Thease sunken gardens are beautiful and are quite famous. However there is no shade there, so shooting on a sunny day can be tough to put people in the shade. This park can be better on a cloudy day. Pros: Cool location for photos with great flowers. Cons: no shade, possible fee for shooting.
Boy Scout Island, Saint Charles IL. It is located on the east side of route 31, about a half-mile north of North Avenue in Saint Charles IL. Boy scout Island is a peninsula that is used to launch boats on the Fox River in Saint Charles IL. This peninsula juts into the water to enable some great River views with the pretty and scenic views of the town of Saint Charles in the background of the river. This spot is beautiful at dusk as the lights of downtown Saint Charles glimmer and dance in the reflection on the water. Hotel Baker a beautiful hotel just south of the peninsula, it has similar views with a tiny Gazebo right on the edge of the water. Pros: Great river and city views, no fees, Cons: Small parking lot, not a lot of versatility with just the river view.
Island Park, Geneva Park District. Is located at Routes 25 & 38 in Geneva IL. Island Park is a peninsula that extends south of Roosevelt road and is between two tributaries of the Fox River. This park has many trees, flowers, ducks and beautiful river views. And there is a view of the Roosevelt avenue waterfall north of the bridge. Pros: Versatile place with many views of river, flowers, trees,; Lots of shade. Cons: park on Roosevelt and walk quite a ways to the pretty places for photos.
The most important decision that someone can make when purchasing a digital Camcorder is. What digital format should I get? Mini DV? HD SLR? DVD-R? Hard Drive? Flash Media? HDV? ACVHD? Which is best for a Chicago wedding videographer? I will help to explain which format is best for different uses. What would be best for one user is not best for all. Please read below to compare recording formats.
MINI DV camcorders:
The earliest digital recording medium. 6MM matchbook size tape cost $3 for a one hour tape. Record time 60 minutes Standard SP speed 90 minutes LP speed. Camera cost range: $250-$3000. Designed for someone who wants to shoot video to be edited later (Maybe months or years later) on a non-linear editing system IE: Imovie, windows movie maker & Adobe Premiere. The footage is digitized into Imovie by hooking the camera up to the IEEE 1394 “Firewire” connector on a computer and digitized onto a hard drive on the computer in real time.
Advantages: Oldest Digital recording format yields the most compatible equipment and software for editing. Highest quality picture and sound (in standard resolution) least compression than the other recording formats. There is not signal loss when digitizing mini DV footage. Lower battery drain because the tape drive uses less power than DVD-R and Hard Drive units. Easy and inexpensive archival of footage IE: The tapes are inexpensive and they do not need to be re-used for another shoot. With other formats (like Hard Drive recording) the media in the camera is reused and the footage must be archived before editing (or re-shooting on the reusable media) can commence.
Disadvantages: The tape must be played on the camera itself to watch the footage, unlike DVD-R cameras. The tape has to be digitized in real time IE: 1 hour of footage takes 1 hour to digitize into the hard drive of the computer. You have to pay $3 for camera tapes; record time is either 1-hour in Standard Play or 90 minutes on Long Play. The picture quality is the same for both record lengths, but Long Play gets a glitch during edits done in camera.
Bottom Line: Mini DV is great for someone who is going to edit their work and they do not have to archive the footage elsewhere if editing is not going to commence soon. People who do video for a living or can’t edit stuff right away and work on more than one project at a time will like mini DV. Most Professional videograohers who shoot wedding videography use Mini DV or the next category HDV Mini DV. This is the norm in Chicago, New York, L.A. and most of Illinois and the Midwest.
HDV Mini DV Camcorders:
HDV is a high definition version of mini DV. The cameras range from $950 to $9,000 for a high end pro model. HDV cameras can shoot on standard mini DV or HDV High Definition using a more expensive special Mini DV tape that costs $13 to $20 as opposed to the $3 tape that mini DV uses. The Camera shoots a special version of high definition that is compressed using “MPEG2” compression that allows 4 times the resolution of a high Definition signal to use the same 25 megabytes per second data rate that standard mini DV uses. There are several Professional camcorders from Sony, Cannon and JVC that shoot HDV on a mini DV tape they range in price from $2600 to $9000
Advantages: Same as mentioned for Mini DV, The picture is quality is better and is more compatible with editing systems than “ACVHD” (a different version of compressed High Definition). HDV footage can be converted to standard resolution for viewing or standard editing. HDV footage can be converted to either HDcam, HD DVD or Blu-Ray DVD so it is the most compatible or the High Definition formats and editing systems.
Disadvantages: Uses more expensive tape than Mini DV. The cameras are more expensive than “ACVHD” high definition camcorders. Battery drain is more than mini DV but is still less than Hard Drive and DVD-R cameras. All high definition cameras (HDV included) are worse in low light than standard definition cameras because they have more pixels (4 times more) sharing the same amount of light coming through the lens. Editing HDV footage puts more strain on the computer, so there are more technical problems on computers that edit HDV footage, many times computes must be upgraded to edit HDV footage. In order to enjoy the footage in full high definition you must burn either a Blu-ray or HD DVD Disc and both the burners and the blank discs are pretty pricey.
The Bottom Line: HDV Cameras are for the professional or serious video consumer who wants to “future proof” his camera purchase and be compatible with high definition technology. The purchaser should bring extra lights for High Definition shoots because the camera needs more light. Milestone Photo and video an expert wedding videographer in Chicago uses HDV.
Hard Drive Camcorders (HDD)
Hard Drive Cameras are a newer technology than Mini DV. They range from $400 to $1500. The Hard Drive camera replaces the tape drive of the Mini DV with an 8 Gigabyte to 80 Gigabyte non-removable hard drive for recording. These cameras don’t require media because you reuse a built in hard drive every time you shoot video. When you want to edit a your footage, you hook a USB2 cable to the camera from your editing computer and transfer the footage into the computer’s hard drive at 4 times “real time” or you can edit using the built in hard drive on the camera. These camcorders can shoot at different quality levels. On a 30-gigabyte camcorder, you can shoot 7 hours of High quality footage, 15 hours at standard quality & 37 hours at economy quality. Some hard drive cameras can also shoot on High Definition as well. These cameras are knows as “AVCHD” which is yet another compressed version of High Definition that uses “MPEG 4” which is a lower quality type of compression than the previously mentioned “HDV”. More about “AVCHD” later.
Advantages: variable quality levels variable record times. Some of these cameras can do simple editing without a computer connected. The record time without changing tapes is the longest. You can shoot a 12-hour concert without changing tapes or missing a beat. No discs or tapes to buy for a shoot. Footage is transferred to an editing non-linear computer editor at four times “real time” or better (on lower quality settings).
Disadvantages: Since you are re-using the record media for every shoot, once you have used up the camera’s internal hard drive, you cannot record any more footage until the internal camera hard drive is transferred to another hard drive for archiving. If the editing session is delayed for months the footage must take up valuable space on the hard drive of the editors computer. There is no non-volatile archive of the footage like tape based shooting (mini DV) If the camera is bumped while recording, the hard drive can “crash” which may ruin all the footage that is recorded on the internal hard drive on the camera. The battery drain is worse than Mini DV, Mini DV HDV & flash memory but is better than DVD-R
Bottom Line: Consumer or hobbyists who want to record long programs without interruption, and are only working on one project at a time will like Hard Drive Camcorders. It would be nice if the hard drive on these cameras was switchable by the camcorder’s user to make it easier to archive footage since hard drives are getting cheaper and cheaper. Alas these camcorders require a technician to replace a hard drive. There are some external professional hard drive units that can attach to mini DV camera’s “firewire” connector to make a camera be both a Mini DV camera and hard drive camera that gives those cameras the best of both worlds.
Flash Memory Camcorders: SD, Compact Flash, Memory Stick, P2 cards
These are the, smallest, newest and most robust technology for camcorders available. Although HD SLRs use flash memory too, I treat them separate below because they are quite a different animal. They range from $60 all the way up to $12000 for the newest High Definition Flash memory pro camera from Sony and Panasonic and RED. The recording device of these camcorders is flash memory, identical to the memory used in consumer digital camcorders. This solid-state chip records footage digitally similar to (previously mentioned) hard drive. This chip has no moving parts and the data is not lost when the re-usable media is removed from the camera and replaced with a fresh card. Secure Digital (SD Card), compact Flash or Memory Stick are the most popular types of cards used. Since flash cards (at the time of this article) can be up to 32 gigabytes (cost of an 8 gig card $85) the record time is less than with hard drive cameras (also they usually compress the video more to fit more data). They are loaded into a computer for editing much like a digital camera loads photos. Once the footage is in the non-linear editing computer the card may be erased and reused to shoot something else. The media is reused similar to a Hard drive Camera except the media can be switched with a blank memory card when blank media runs out. Some flash memory cameras can also shoot on High Definition as well. These cameras are knows as “AVCHD” which is yet another compressed version of High Definition that uses “MPEG 4” which is a lower quality type of compression than the previously mentioned “HDV”. More about “AVCHD” later.
Advantages: This technology makes it possible to make the smallest and most robust camcorders possible. Similar to hard drive cameras these cameras have variable quality levels variable record times. The advantage over hard drive camcorders is that flash Media camcorder’s record media is user replaceable, so multiple SD cards can be used to archive footage, with hard drive camcorders you can’t switch hard drives. Also you can either transfer footage into a computer using the camera and a USB 2 cable or you can put the actual secure digital card into a fast card reader for lightning fast transfer into a computer. Since the chip has no moving parts it has the least battery drain of all camcorders; sharply hitting the camera while recording cannot cause the flash memory chip to “crash” like on a hard drive. This is the most robust of all recording media but the cost per gigabyte (or minute) is the highest. Some of these flash memory units can also do some simple editing without a computer. Some expensive plasma TVs have a slot for flash media, some units can play video directly from the flash memory onto the plasma screen. The price of flash memory is dropping faster than the cost of hard drive memory, so media will cost much less in a year or so.
Disadvantages: These cameras use expensive reusable memory that must be purchased before using the camera; unlike hard drive camcorders that come with the hard drive media included. The price of an 8-gigabyte memory card is $84 and it will record at the highest quality for about 3 hours and the lowest quality for 15 hours. Because the reusable media must be archived on the editors computer; that means the if editing session is delayed for months, the footage must take up valuable space on the hard drive of the editors computer. Because flash memory is more expensive than hard drive camcorders, most users shoot at lower quality levels than users who use hard drive camcorders. If you want to shoot a lot of hours without downloading to a computer in between shots, be prepared to spend a lot of money for memory. This may be a moot point because the prices of flash memory are falling very fast.
Bottom Line: Flash media is the future of digital video and music; just look what it did to digital cameras and MP3 players. Consumers and hobbyists who don’t need a lot of record time, want a small camera that is robust and inexpensive, and can archive their footage on an external hard drive, will love flash media camcorders for their speed, simplicity any small size. One note: When flash memory drops to the point of being less expensive than a hard drive memory, hard drive camcorders will be obsolete. In the future all camcorders will use this technology for recording.
HD SLR Still Cameras that also shoot super high quality HD Videos (Newest addition!)
HD DSLRs have been around since January 2008 and are the latest technology for the Wedding videographer, photographer or filmmaker working in Chicago New York or LA. DSLR’s This type of Camera shoots Photos and high quality HD video using the same camera and the same flash based recording media. DSLR’s have a HUGE image sensor that is 20 times the size of many professional 3-chip digital video camcorders. The difference is the DSLR has only ONE CHIP, a really BIG chip that enables the use of higher optical quality glass lenses that are used in SLR digital photography. The advantage is that since the image sensor is larger, the video created has better resolution, better dynamic range and less lens distortion than smaller chipped 3-chip camcorders. Since the Photo/Video cameras can take all Canon Or Nikon photo lenses (depending on camera model), many different photo” looks” (using photography lenses) can be applied to wedding videography. One of the best uses of these dual use cameras is to shoot using a wide open F-stop that yields a shallow depth of field. This feature makes the wedding videographer capable of having a bride and groom be in focus in the foreground and have the background be very out of focus. This out of focus area is called Bokeh. The wedding videographer can also rack-focus from a close foreground object to a distant giving a cool cinematic look that is difficult with a standard 3 chip video camcorder. Most of these dual use cameras record onto SD or Compact flash using the AVCHD format (see AVCHD below) which is a version of MPEG 4 and H264. These cameras do not record very good sound quality (some cheaper units have no external mic input) and most wedding videographers use a separate audio recording device and sync the sound latter. The Canon 5D mark II is the highest quality HDSLR from Canon it is the only HD SLR that uses a full size image sensor. The Canon 7D and the Nikon D3100, D5100, D7000 all shoot HD video but have a smaller image sensor with a 28.8 mm diagonal image sensor. The Canon 5D mark II has a 33 mm diagonal image sensor.
Advantages: HD SLRs get better raw picture quality than any other type of video camera. The ability to change lenses and use incredible capable photo lenses makes these cameras only as good as the lenses you are using. The ability to control focus and aperture is better than most video cameras. The ability to switch between shooting photography and videography with the very same camera makes a wedding photographer able to shoot photos and video with the same camera and same expensive lenses. This shooting photo and video with the same camera is called “photo and video fusion”. Milestone photo and video is one of the fist companies to shoot both photo and video fusion with the same camera!
Disadvantages: HD SLRs us a photo CMOS sensor. These sensors can get hot from extended video shots causing the sensor to overheat for longer shots. The first generation HD SLRs could only record for up to 5 minutes per shot, like the Nilon D90. The newer HD SLRs can shoot up to 20 minutes, this is a problem for shooting longer programs. Also some of the AVCHD files these cameras create, can be difficult for some non-linear editors to handle. Other things that may pose a challenge for a videographer are: the cameras do not record very good sound, so most wedding videographers opt to record the sound on a separate camcorder or sound system. Also, since still camera zoom don’t have a power zoom, you can’t smoothly zoom into our out of an object. Zooming should be done between shots. The autofocus system on the Nikon HD SLRs have autofocus that is not as well adapted for video than a real video camera. All the Canon HD SLRs can’t use the autofocus on the camera or lens at all. This makes the wedding videographer/cinematographer have to focus constantly to keep the objects he is shooting in focus. These cameras work best when used with other conventional camcorders. Also the form factor is not made for shooting video. The ergonomics of these cameras are not made for shooting video. You must get a LCD magnifier (hoodman or Zacuto) or hood for shooting outside and to see if you are in focus.
Bottom Line: These cameras get better picture quality than anything else out there. The ability to use (and change) photo lenses gives these cameras great optical powers. There is a trade-off with the disadvantage of recording on separate audio equipment, not being able to zoom smoothly and the limited recording time. These cameras are best used in conjunction with other types of camcorders on this list.
AVCHD Compression used in flash, HDD and DVD-R camcorders:
advanced video codec high definition. This is a high definition compression format that compresses the high definition video so it can be recorded (for presentation) to an inexpensive DVD-R media instead of the much more expensive Blu-Ray media. This is the only way to record a video for presentation, without using a pricey blu-ray burner, which costs $800. Also the blu-ray media itself costs $20 for a 25-gigabyte disc. This less expensive type of high definition video uses inexpensive .40-cent discs but they can be played on expensive ($400) Blu-Ray high definition disc players at a lower quality than HDV footage converted to Blu-ray disc. These AVCHD recordings are intended to be played on a Blu-ray payer or on a computer equipped with special software. This compression technology is incorporated into some of the more expensive hard drive, flash media and DVD-R camcorders so you can burn a direct output of your unedited footage directly onto a standard inexpensive DVD-R burner at high definition quality.
ADVANTAGES: AVCHD enables the cost conscious consumer to shoot and present unedited high definition video without needing expensive blu-ray media ($20 per disc) or an expensive blu-ray burner (burner cost $800) Because the data rate is low, an inexpensive AVCHD flash media camcorder can shoot 43 minutes of high definition on an inexpensive 4 gigabyte secure digital card.
Disadvantages: AVCHD signals are not intended to be edited later although imovie intends on adding AVCHD support to their next upgrade. AVCHD is much lower quality than HDV compression for high definition discussed earlier. ACVHD has a data rate of 15 megabytes per second and HDV has a data rate of 25 megabytes per second. ACVHD is not compatible with blu-ray competitor, HD-DVD. However HDV high definition MPEG 2 compression is compatible with BOTH blu-ray AN HD DVD. Like all High definition camcorders, you need extra light to get an acceptable picture from these camcorders.
The Bottom Line: Although AVCHD is a cost cutting way of presenting high definition videos without the cost of Blu-ray media, when blu-ray becomes more popular and cheaper. I think that AVCHD may fall by they wayside except with small flash media camcorders that need a lot of compression to record to a small flash memory card.
Mini DVD-R, Mini Blu-Ray optical drives:
These camcorders are meant to shoot a finished product that is ready to play on a standard home DVD or Blu-Ray player. MINI DVD-R camcorders use media that not meant to be edited later. They use a mini 1.4-gigabyte mini version of a full size 4.7 gigabyte DVD. They range in price from $250 for a basic DVD-R model to $1400 for a Blu-Ray high definition model. If you are the kind of person who just wants to shoot video and enjoy it right away without doing any editing, this is the camera recording format for you. The record media is reasonably inexpensive for the Mini DVD-R about $2.50 for a disc that will record for 30 minutes the cost is $5 per hour (media cost) compared to $3 per hour cost of mini DV. The media for Blu-Ray discs is not readily available but when available it will be quite expensive. All Blu-Ray disc camcorders can also burn Mini DVD-R discs.
Advantages: These camcorders can play on any home or computer based DVD player the mini DVD-R sits in the inner ring of any DVD player. These DVDs can be copied and archived to any other DVD media in minutes including less expensive full size DVD-R media. These camcorders have a similar purpose to full size VHS camcorders of the 90s whose convenience is popular because homeVHS and DVD units are ready to watch the footage almost instantly.
Disadvantages: These Camcorders are not for shooting programs that will be edited later. It is a pain in the neck to try to digitize DVD footage and some non-linear systems force you to hook up a DVD player’s analog output to the analog input of the non-linear computer for editing purposes. If you will edit do not get DVD-R or Blu-Ray . DVD-R camcorders have the worst battery drain because the constantly spinning DVD uses the most power than any other camcorder format including hard drive camcorders.
Bottom Line: Although DVD-R camcorders are among the best selling in the consumer market, many people get them because they are impatient and want to see the footage on a home DVD player instantly, for these people DVD-R is great. Some of these impatient people may later realize that they want to edit their footage with imovie or some other non-linear system. It is then; that these people who choose DVD-R realize that one of the other recording formats would have been a better choice.
Multiple Format Camcorders:
After all this information is thrown at you, you might be thinking: I am confused, do I want flash media or DVD-R? Do I want DVD-R or hard drive? Some companies answer this question with versatile multiple format camcorders. Hitachi makes camcorders that record on both DVD-R AND Flash media; they also make a model that records on both DVD-R and Hard Drive. Sony makes several camcorders that record on BOTH a hard drive and flash media when the hard drive is full. Panasonic has a flash media camcorder that has an external 40 gigabyte hard drive that runs on batteries and it can back up the footage from a smaller flash media card in the field. Sony makes a battery operated external portable DVD-R recorder that can be hooked up to any mini DV camcorder so you can record on DV or DVD-R or both. For professionals, Panasonic makes a $6000 camcorder that shoots on mini DV tapes for standard resolution. If you want high definition you can shoot on “P2” 32-gigabyte flash cards at various high definition resolutions.
The Bottom line: Before everyone switches to the latest technology: Flash media, many people will be buying digital video cameras that give the amateur or professional a choice in recording formats. This feature will make the choice of which camcorder to buy easier for the wary consumer.
8 Millimeter and Digital 8 camcorders:
8MM is the last analog format to die a slow death at the stiff competition from the many digital video formats listed above. 8MM camcorders are similar to mini DV camcorders but the quality is much worse because they are analog. The cost savings over mini DV camcorders is only $30 so I would not recommend 8 Millimeter cameras or their bastard brother “Digital 8”, which uses analog 8 MM tapes and records them digitally using mini DV’s type compression. The problem with Digital 8 camcorders is very few people have digital 8 so if you break the camcorder, you have to find someone that has this unusual camcorder to do anything with the footage. People who have alot of old 8mm tapes may like this type of camera because it can play their old tapes, but the lack of compatibility may spell the end of digital 8.
Hopefully I haven’t confused people who are trying to decide which camcorder to get.
Copyright 20011by Robert Busch no copying or reprint without my written permission.
Grau Mill is located in fullersberg woods forest preserve at 3800 York road in Oak Brook IL at the intersection of York and Spring roads. Grau Mill is on the Salt creek and is a working 150-year-old grist mill and museum. It features an easy to photograph bridge, beautiful working waterwheel, old time wheelhouse, and beautifully shaded views of wooded salt creek nature area. This location is popular because of its easy to get to location and it does not require a permit. It is one of the very few surviving buildings that was used by the “underground railroad” for abolitionists to hide runaway slaves. This gives this great location increased interest for couples of African American decent. This beautiful location has a lot of shade making it great for a sunny day; it is a favorite of mine and many Chicago wedding photographers .Pros: versatile place with millhouse, waterwheel, greenery, bridge, river views; lots of shade; easy to find and get to. Cons: Popular place, you might have to wait to take your turn in front of the waterwheel. Dave & Bob’s Favorite. Please click here and here to see more photos of this great location. http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/Renaissance_Oak_Brook/ andhttp://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/g59/
Indian Lakes Hilton Resort Lobby is located at: 250 West Schick Road Bloomingdale IL. Indian Lakes Hilton resort qualifies as a Location for Chicago Wedding Photos because they allow people to shoot their wedding photos there even if their wedding is not located at Indian Lakes resort. This is the place to go in DuPage county to do Chicagoland wedding photography on a rainy day or other inclement weather. Indian lakes Lobby (hotel entrance on right) is designed for photos because they have skylights on the ceiling for natural light. There is a 2 sided wedding photography area both have a cool rock wall with a waterfall. In the foreground is a small pond and pond plants and trees. Pros: Indoor but looks like outdoor with skylights and pond, 2 sides so if the other side is being used you can use the other side and not interfere with the other wedding. Great waterfall, pond trees. Cons: You have to get permission to shoot there. Bridal party from another hall may feel uncomfortable. To see Chicago wedding photos from this location check these galleries: http://www.milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/g127/ http://www.milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/g90/ http://www.milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/Indian_Lakes/ http://www.milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/g92/
Cantigny of Wheaton: is located at 1 South 151 Winfield Road Wheaton IL.Cantigny is a memorial army museum and botanical garden located in Winfield IL road just south of Roosevelt road (RT38). It has 2 areas that are very different making this one of the most versatile places to shoot wedding photos. To the south we have the “masculine” area that features about 20 army tanks that are restored in a shady, wooded setting complete with bridges and benches. The groomsmen love to pose on the tanks and the bridesmaids pose in front of the tanks, this makes for some great images. On the Northern “feminine” side of Cantigny there are many flowers, ponds, a gazebo, stairs for group shots and a 30-foot diameter spray fountain that is shaded and is great for shots of the bridal party. I love this place because of its versatility and it has a lot of shade making it a great place for shooting on a sunny day. You do not have to have a Permit to shoot photos here. However they charge $5 per car and $40 per Limo (or bus) if the limo holds over 18 people. If a bus holds 35 or more people it will cost $70 instead Chicagoland wedding photo buffs will a lot of patriotism will love it here Pros: Versatile place with many different areas for different shots, Great spray fountain, lots of shade, army tanks for cool groomsman photos. Cons: Small entrance fee required. Dave & Bob’s Favorite. Click here to see more photos. http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/Prairie-Landing/
Morton Arboretum Lisle: Is Located at 4100 Illinois Route 53 Lisle IL.Morton Arboretum is huge, taking up hundreds of acres in Lisle IL. It is similar to Cantigny in that is features every type of tree in North America. It has open prairies, thick woods, bridges and river views of the DuPage River. There are some very hilly spots there. It is also pretty shady so it is good on a sunny day. There are also 2 reception halls on site that regularly feature weddings. It is very close to the huge Abbington reception hall of Glen Ellen. They do require a Permit of $125 to shoot there for photos. Pros: Versatile place with many areas for good and different shots, not crowed, lots of shade. Cons: Permit and pay required. Please click hereto see more photos. http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/Morton_Arboretum/
Itasca Gazebo in Usher Park: The Itasca Gazebo is located on Irving park and Walnut roads in Itasca IL. This Gazebo is one of Chicagoland’s Prettiest Gazebos being white and is much larger than most Gazebos. There is not much shade there from trees, but the gazebo is great for shooting a bridal party. There is also a small bridge there for great bridal party shots. I don’t think you need a permit to shoot there. Pros: great gazebo looks great in photos, bridge makes this location more versatile. Cons: not much shade aside from the gazebo. Please click here to see more photos http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/Holiday_Inn_Itasca/
Bartlett Gazebo: The Bartlett Gazebo is located on 101 North Avenue in Bartlett IL. This Gazebo is very large 32’ by 32’ and the park has a lot of trees so it is above average for shade. A permit costs $30 for 3 hours (suggested but not required) but is not required to shoot photos there. There is also a real log cabin there if you are doing a rustic wedding. Pros: Great looking gazebo is one of the largest, above average shade, easy parking. Cons: Place is not very versatile the gazebo is the only thing there (besides the log cabin) for photos. Pease click here to see more photos. http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/Stonegate/
Wilder Park Elmhurst
Wilder Park Elmhurst IL is located on Prospect and church streets in elmhurst IL. Wilder park has a very pertty garden of flowers and bushes and a beautiful place for ceremonies (near Wilder Mansion, which was the original Elmhurst library years ago). It also has a small green house conservatory that can be used for wedding photos during inclement weather, (as long as you are only photographing 2 people at a time.) There is not much shade there so this is a great place for a cloudy day wedding. Pros: Great plants and plant archways for photos. Inside conservatory for indoor nature shots. Cons: Not much shade, conservatory is small inside and only be used for photos of 2-4 people at a time. Check out our wedding at the Wilder park adjoining Wilder park: http://www.milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/g97/
Lilacia Park Lombard. Is located at 150 South Park ave. in Lombard IL. Lilacia Park is world famousfor its lilac festival in mid may. The flowers in spring are second to none in Chicago. It features a wood deck overlooking a reflecting pond, rows of beautiful trees, flowers of many types, shady areas, statues & benches. Lilacia Has 1,200 lilac bushes and 25,000 tulips. This is very popular place for photos. There is a fee of $75 for 1 hour for photos or wedding ceremony. Chicago wedding photography is great here Pros: Great flowers, reflecting pond, lawns, benches and great shade. Cons: Fee of $75 required (only on Saturday) Milestone Digital uses this great location for engagement photos during the week. Please click hereand here to see more photos. http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/g62/and http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/Arrowhead_Country_Club/
Lake Ellen Glen Ellen
Lake Ellen, Glen Ellen IL. Is located at 645 Lenox road Glen Ellen IL. Lake Ellen has beautiful huge Maple trees, Lake views, boathouse & a wood deck that overlooks the water & a veteran’s memorial. This park is small, but has great shade trees, and great lake views. Pros: Lake views, great trees, not popular for shooting. Cons: little shade near the lake. Please click here to see more photos.http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/Indian_Lakes/
Churchill Woods Forest Preserve Glen Ellen. Is located along the south side of Saint Charles road in Glen Ellen between I355 and Riford Road. You can also enter from the other side of the river on Crescent road just west of I 355 bridge in Glen Ellen. Churchill woods has incredible woodsy views, Dupage river views, beautiful lawns, Limestone banks, walk a 100-foot long bridge to an island that is surrounded 360 degrees by water. This preserve is just plain beautiful, it features a huge accesable island in the middle of the Du page river system of Lagoons. Pros: great woodsy and river views, lots of shade, washrooms, picnic shelter, lots of parking, easy to find, Cons: Long walk from car if you enter on Saint Charles road, Lots of mosquitoes in the woods. Milestone Digital uses this location for engagement photos.\
McDonald’s corporate campus Oak Brook. Is located at 2111 McDonald’s dive Oak Brook IL. McDonald’s corporate headquarters is a beautiful place that has a banquet hall and they cater their own weddings there. If you don’t have a wedding there you can still take pictures at this Great site. One place to shoot is by the salt creek river view. The best other place is overlooking the lagoon from the west side of the lagoon by the north-south drive.Pros: Shade, flowers Riverview, Cons: Interference from other wedding occurring there, hard to find. Please click here to see more photos. http://milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/Empress/
Adams Park Wheaton IL. Adams park is located on the corner of seminary and Main street in downtown Wheaton IL. Adams park has a fountain, gazebo, flowers and benches in a beautiful shady setting right by the Wheaton Library. This park has a lot of trees so it is great to use on a sunny day. Pros: Shady area works great in pictures, has gazebo, flowers and fountain. Cons: Parking is harder in downtown Wheaton.
Ross Ferraro Park Carol Stream IL. Is located on Lies and Gary roads in Carol Stream IL.This Park has the 3 best things that a park needs for great photos (bridge, Fountain, Gazebo) but they did a bad job on the design so this park is not the picture place it that the designers had planned. First of all the fountain is internal, so you have to get in the center of the concrete fountain to actually see the pretty water spraying. You have to take pictures inside of a 15 or so foot circle to take photos with the water in the background. This means unless you are taking pictures of a few people at a time, you can’t zoom out enough to get a great shot of a full bridal party, unless you are using a fisheye lens (and fisheye lenses are not used all the time). Although the fountain is great for individual shots of the bride and groom. This park also has a bridge (to nowhere), which usually would be great for an awesome bridal party shot. However the bridge has a metal support bar on the sides that is exactly the height of bridal party member’s faces. Unless every member of the bridal party is a 7’ 6” NBA player, this bridge is completely useless for photos. There is a Gazebo that looks Pretty good and some flowers in several areas so this place is not bad especially if you are shooting a few people at a time in front of the pretty, internally curverd fountain. There is a fee to shoot there and if you are caught shooting without a permit, the fine is over $150. Pros: versatile place with both a Gazebo and Fountain, easy to find, easy to park. Public washroom Cons: Bridge is useless for photos; Fountain is hard to get wide enough for a shot of full bridal party, almost no shade at all. You must pay a fee (I think it is $75) or you can be fined for taking pictures without a permit.
Riverwalk Naperville: Located near Jackson and Webster streets in downtown Naperville IL. The riverwalk features an old time wooden covered bridge, beautiful trees, a fountain and it is on the banks of the beautiful DuPage River. The riverwalk also features some flowers and benches. Pros: great shade from the bridge, a place to shoot in a small drizzle because of the covered bridge. Cons: This is a popular place to shoot, be prepared to wait your turn. Check out a wedding shot at the Millennium carillon on the riverwalk.http://www.milestonedigital.com/photogalleries/g11
Copyright 2011 Robert M. Busch and Milestone Photo and Video. No part of this article may be used without written permission from Robert M. Busch