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Removing the Shakes

30th March 2014

Stabilizers for Shooting Video

As I was making my way through the 300+ exhibitor booths at this month’s Wedding & Portrait Photographers International Expo I was reminded how important video has become to this part of the photo industry.

For quality smooth videos, photographers rely on stabilizers to remove the shakes. At the lower end of the spectrum is the iPhone and GoPro. With proper stabilization, these cameras are capable of shooting very decent videos.

Tiffen has two accessories: one for iPhone and another for the GoPro Hero: the Curve and the Smoothee.

Tiffen Smoothee
Tiffen Curve

The “Smoothee” is for an iPhone

The “Curve” is a lightweight stabilizer for the GoPro Hero

The Steadicam Smoothee is a small single handle device with a quick-release mount for the iPhone. It sells for $150. For more information, please visit Steadicam Smoothee

The Steadicam Curve is specifically designed and balanced for the various models of the GoPro Hero. The price is $100 and is available in four colors. For more information, please visit Steadicam Curve

Both the Smoothee and the Curve are lightweight and allow the photographer to easily move alongside the subject while recording smooth videos.

For larger cameras, a solid tripod with a robust fluid head is most often used. But for hand-held applications, photographers will want to turn to a portable video rig.

One such rig is the Comodo Orbit.

The “Orbit” stabilizer from Comodo is designed for much larger cameras.

This is a lightweight, hand-held gimbal rig built for DLSRs

The twin grips make the rig easier to handle especially when shooting for extended periods of time. The grips also double as a floor stand. With its gimbal mount, the camera is free to pivot to its stabilized position. The Orbit sells for $1500. For more information please visit Comodo.

Written by Arnie Lee

From the Photo Booth Supply Co

Event photographers know just how popular photo booths have been for the past few years. And many of these working photographers know that the photo booth has been a reliable revenue generator for them too

As you might imagine at the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International Expo, there were several exhibitors showing their offerings to the thousands of event photographers in attendance.

I stopped to examine several, but the one that caught my attention was the setup at Photo Booth Supply Company.

Their setup is simple and stylish at the same time. With an enclosed camera, studio lighting, subject-facing monitor, dye-sublimation printer and a dearth of wires and cables, this is a turnkey solution for photographers who shoot a variety of events.

The couple to the right is getting ready to snap their likeness in front of the PBS camera.

The touchscreen monitor lets the subject snap the photo when he/she chooses the right pose and moment.

The dye-sublimation printer produces an attractive finished product. So a few seconds later – voila the photo

The basic system includes this equipment:

  • Canon T3i with 18-55MM lens
  • Camera AC adapter
  • Studio strobe with umbrella
  • Touchscreen monitor
  • Computer w/wireless keyboard
  • Photo booth software
  • Custom carrying case
  • Photo booth stand
  • DNP printer
  • 4″x6″ media for 800 prints*
  • Printer enclosure
  • Printer carrying case

* the DNP printer can print 4×6, 2×6, 5×7, 6×8, and 6×9 prints.

Templates for the printer can be customized to include single or multiple images. By adding a green screen, you can superimpose the photos on top of virtually and background scene. If you want to put your subjects in front of the Eiffel Tower or Great Wall of China, go at it.

The photo booth is highly portable and can be set up in just a few minutes. As you can see above, the equipment is attractively packaged making it appropriate for formal events.

The price for the photo booth, high speed printer and heavy duty carrying cases is $8,800. For more information, please visit Photo Booth Supply Co.
Written by Arnie Lee


Joby Wrist Strap

27th March 2014

Another “Handy” Accessory

Earlier this month I stopped by the Joby’s booth at the Wedding & Portrait Photographer’s International Expo. There I picked up one of their DSLR Wrist Straps.

While this is not a particularly sexy accessory, I’ve found it to be quite practical. Instead of a conventional shoulder strap which I have to slide off my shoulder in order to use the camera, the wrist strap lets me hold the camera conveniently and safely. It’s especially useful when I’m shooting from a single location and am not transporting the camera distances. The camera is there in my hand ready to shoot immediately.

The strap attaches to one of the camera strap lugs. The adjustable “loop” slides snugly across your wrist giving you a safe grip.

This inexpensive DSLR Wrist Strap is made of heavy-duty webbed material and costs about $15. For more information please visit Joby’s online website.
Reviewed by Arnie Lee

Rogue Safari

26th March 2014

Flash Extender

The Wedding & Portrait Photography International event can be thought of as a conference of 260+ instructional classes for where photographers can sharpen and learn new skills and a huge expo where they can meet with more than 300 exhibitors displaying, explaining and selling all kinds of photographic equipment, accessories and services.

For two days, I roamed the two exhibit floors at the MGM Resort visiting with several dozen exhibitors as they showed me new camera models, innovative equipment and useful accessories.

In the next few articles, I’ll review a few of the more interesting finds from the exhibit floor.


Rogue is a maker of a variety of flash accessories. I got a hold of their a new device they call the Safari. This small unit sits atop of your camera’s pop-up flash to extend its range.

The Safari package comes with a couple of shoe mounts to fit on different model cameras. The mount slides onto your camera’s hot shoe. The Safari then slides onto the mount.

Your pop-up flash then “opens” inside of the Safari as you can see below.

Below are unretouched photos without any flash compensation. Clearly the Safari does a good job of extending the range of the camera’s pop-up flash.

Taken using the pop-up flash without the Safari

Taken using the pop-up flash with the Safari

Rogue says that the Safari works best with lenses that have a focal length of 100mm or greater. My simple tests proved equally effective using both Canon and Nikon cameras. You may want to dial down the flash compensation if your subject is close to the flash.

The Safari sells for about $35. For more information, please see
Reviewed by Arnie Lee

WPPI 2014

25th March 2014

Wedding and Portrait Photographers

In early March while still in the midst of Winter in the Midwest, I very much look forward to escaping for a few days to sun and warmth of Las Vegas to attend the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International Convention.

As its name suggests, the WPPI event is aimed at photographers who specialize in weddings and portraits.

This year the conference included more than 160 classes taught by a number of well-known instructors: Lindsay Adler, Zach Arias, Bob Davis, Jerry Ghionis, Michael Greenberg, Peter Hurley, Scott Kelby, Sandy Puc and Jennifer Rozenbaum to name a few of the 170 instructors in all. Classes ranged from practical shooting techniques, lighting, posing, using specialized equipment and accessories, building and maintaining a growing client base, marketing, advertising and pricing.

WPPI is internationally known and more than 12,000 photographers trekked to Las Vegas from 64 countries to learn from other successful pros. Interestingly, more than 50% of the attendees were new registrants this year. My observation is that more than half of the attendees were women – suggesting that women are rapidly growing the wedding and portrait photography business.

In addition to the convention, there’s a large expo where the attendees can view the equipment, accessories, supplies and services offered by more than 300 exhibitors.

As you walk around the exhibit hall you’ll see live demo shoots, discussions and displays.


Jerry Ghionis demonstrating lighting techniques

Bambi Cantrell discussing wedding photography

Tamara Lackey explaining the importance of time of day Demonstrating camera techniques at the Sony booth

Miller and GraphiStudio showing a myriad of album covers and photo book services

If you’d like the join the WPPI or if you can benefit from attending next year’s conference and expo, please visit the site WPPI Online site.

Please stay tuned for several upcoming articles about equipment and accessories that I reviewed at this year’s expo.


Written by Arnie Lee