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Welcome to Michael's blog. Michael Andrew, (aka Michael The Maven) is a freelance photography instructor and tech innovator. Read More

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09.20.14     tutorial & training videos  

Sony A7s Training Tutorial Video Now Available!

Happy to announce that my new Sony A7s Tutorial Training Video is now available for immediate download! We are now shifting our attention to authoring the DVD, which should be ready in about 4-5 weeks.

Before a few months ago, I was strictly a Canon and Nikon shooter. I was so impressed with the Panasonic GH4 that I had to take a close look at it, and once I did I knew it would be an absolute hit.

Sony responded a few months later with their Sony a7s , also mirrorless, but also a very different animal in that it was only 12MP and also full frame.

Having enough adapters out there, I am now able to use my Canon glass on both systems, and they each have their strengths. If I am looking for low light shooting, I reach for the A7s, if its run and gun, all in one package, I grab the GH4.

Learning 2 new camera systems too a lot of time, especially the menus and features not found elsewhere. I have been shooting professionally for 11 years now, and I know that if I was struggling to learn these systems, I could imagine how hard it would be for a our beginner.

My Crash Course series has been very successful, they are some of the highest rated training DVDs on the internet (including Amazon ratings), because they assume you know nothing and I take you through from the very start to get to shooting on a very advanced level:

We cover everything from the basics, composition, digital basics, the A7s features and operations, the A7s menu system, video shooting tips and much more, all and all about 4 hours of training.

Save yourself the time and frustration of trying to learn on your own! Check it out today!

You can purchase the download by clicking here: CLICK HERE for Michael's Sony A7s Tutorial Training Video Download

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09.20.14     gadgetry  

iPhone 6 240 FPS Slow Motion Tests

The folks over at Fstoppers shared this quick video showcasing the slow-mo capabilities of the new iPhone 6. Check out the video then check out what the had to say about it here.

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09.19.14     featured photographers  

Anatomy of a Fantasy Shoot with Benjamin Von Wong

Benjamin Von Wong is known for his epic and surreal photography. Below he takes us behind the scenes of one of his beautiful shoots. He shares techniques and insights behind his inspired work.


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09.18.14     photography  

Canon's Chuck Westfall on the Canon 7D Mark II

Canon's Chuck Westfall discusses the new Canon 7D Mark II.

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09.17.14     customer service  

Marketing Mavens - Review

If you are doing an internet search for reviews on a Marketing Company called "Marketing Mavens" (coincidentally named), run by a person named Jarrod Morris, you are forewarned- Do NOT EVER work with them.

The dust is still settling, and it is a long story, but the short of it is; they promised to integrate some software called "Infusionsoft" which manages newsletters, with my store. It sure sounded fantastic and a powerful tool to help me stay in touch with my customers and newsletter subscribers and I was excited for what it could do.

The Infusionsoft Membership was $2000 and $300 per month after that.
Jared's Marketing Mavens wanted another $900, a downpayment of $50/hr on 20 hours of support.
As it turns out, Infusionsoft doesn't play nice with my store, so I had to purchase a plugin from a company called "MarketStreet" which appeared to have a solution, its normally $1500, but was on sale for about $950. You can probably see where this is going.
I also had to have my own programmers talk with Marketing Mavens and MarketStreet at a rate of $100/hr, as well as pay my assistant Kate to handle the transition from Mail Chimp (fantastic company and product btw).

Long story short, the Marketstreet plugin did not work at all and neither they nor Marketing Mavens were able to help me get it sorted out.

4 Months and $6500 (total) and a lot of patience later, I made a final plea to Jarrod and his team on the phone for help getting everything working. The main problem was that I did not understand what information Market Street needed to resolve the bug in the plug in, they would ask me, I would ask Jarrod's staff for help, and they would just ignore my requests, despite promising to do so on our last phone conversation.

Another week or so, I finally just gave up. Jarrod seems to believe that because we used up our 20 hours of service trying to get it installed, his part was done, despite the fact infusionsoft was never successfully integrated with my store.

- If a company isn't going to help you as a new customer, they won't help you as an old one.
- If a company does not offer a money back guarantee, they aren't capable of doing good business. Yes they will take your money, but no, they do not really care about you.

Based on my personal experience with Marketing Mavens and my communications with Jarrod Morris, I cannot endorse them and would recommend that you never do business with them.

I am waiting to hear back from Infusionsoft Headquarters to see what they say on the matter, they might actually see where I am coming from but it is hard to say. I imagine they have a good product, but we couldn't get it to work for us. It was a tremendous hassle to integrate and it's dashboard was impossible to understand.

I will also ask Market Street for a refund, their plug supposedly works, but we were never able to get it to do so with our site. I am waiting to hear back from them for a refund.

Marketing Mavens also is not accredited by the BBB and has an "F" score rating you can see here:Marketing Mavens - Better Business Bureau - F Rating

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09.17.14     weddings  

Creative DIY Background and Full Lighting Set Up

Photographer Clay Cook was asked to do an unplanned shoot with Miss Kentucky Teen USA Megan Ducharm. Although it was unplanned he wanted to try something new and make the shoot special. In this article his shares exactly how he achieved this creative beauty shoot using a DIY background with items purchased at Target. He also shares his exact lighting setup.

The final result. Pretty awesome.

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09.15.14     tutorial & training videos  

Canon 7D Mark II Tutorial Training Video Lessons DVD Coming Soon

Already being flooded with questions about the upcoming Canon 7Dii see the earlier post today about what I think about the camera itself.

This post is to confirm that there is a very good chance there will be a Canon 7Dii Crash Course DVD for the camera and if so we would expect to have it ready 2-3 weeks after the camera ships.

My Crash Course on the Canon 7D Mark 2 would be designed primarily for beginning through intermediate users who are looking to get right into shooting and don't want to spend all the time and hassle learning a new complex system. Until I actually get the camera in my hands it will be hard for me to tell how good it is, but from what I have seen, it looks like a tough, machine gun of a camera. With every release however, Canon packs more features into the menu systems and operational controls, the 7Dii looks to be lush with focusing tools, I can't wait to get my hands on one.

Right now the production schedule is as follows:

- We are finishing up the Sony a7s Crash Course DVD Download, it should be available sometime this week for purchase.

- We will be Starting the Nikon D750 Crash Course as soon as we get it in our hands, Im guessing on the 24th or 25th of this month, and by the time we finish it, we should be starting up on the Canon 7Dii Course.

Thank you all for your continued support!

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09.15.14     photography  

Canon 7D Mark II Announcement

Its been a long, long time waiting. Excited to have the official specs out now about the Canon 7Dii, I hope to get my hands on one of the first copies available for sale.

A lot of people have been asking for my person thoughts on the 7Dii.

If you are primarily a sports photographer, I think we are in for one heck of a photography ride, this is just about the perfect upgrade to an already great system. The features I am most excited about:

- 10 FPS high speed burst mode
- 65 All Cross Type Squares (wow)
- Dual Digic 6 Processors (That means you will get 1000 continuous JPGS on a single burst!)
- Built in GPS
- All Metal Body
- Improved ISO clean up performance
- Built In Intravalometer (about time!)

Seriously, this is going to be a cutting edge photography camera for sports.

If you are primarily a videographer who does some shooting:

- Honestly, I wanted 4K Video recording. The 1080 @ 60 FPS is a welcome addition, but being that the new iPhone 6 will do 240FPS @ 720, this leaves me feeling as though I want more. I have been a very dedicated Canon customer for over 11 years now, I have over 20 different lenses for the EF mount, I am committed, just wanting them to play catch up now. 4k video recording is a must to hold the videographer market they have for the last 5 years.

Still it should be a very solid performer for video, but if you are for sure going for video with a DSLR camera, I would be more inclined to recommend the Canon 70D (Which is also a very good sports shooting camera).

CanonRumors.com has released a full outline of specs and features of the much anticipated Canon 7D Mark II. Check it out HERE.

You can also place your preorder from B&H Photo HERE.

Untitlted Film Works in Australia had an exclusive first look at the Canon 7D Mark II. Check it out below.


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09.15.14     photography  

Photographer Tamara Lackey Shares How To Capture An Authentic Smile

In this quick video photographer Tamara Lackey shares her tips on how to captures a genuine or natural smile.


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09.14.14     featured photographers  

Beautiful Flower Time-lapse by David de los Santos Gil

It took photographer David de los Santos Gil 9 months and 50,000 shots to produce this beautiful time-lapse of delicate flowers opening. The final result required 5,000 images.

Flowers opening timelapse from David de los Santos Gil on Vimeo.

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