Part 1: My Latest Personal Photography Project – Goals, Equipment, and Process (Fine Art Photography)

Personal projects are important for all types of photographers. I aim to regularly engage in projects in order to test gear, study different techniques, grow my portfolio, add to my stock inventory, and stay connected to my love of photography.

My most recent personal project transpired over several months, and was a series of images of Oklahoma City’s mid-century modern architecture, specifically, retro signage.

Goals.

#1:  Slow Down! Think More About Each Photo.

  • Practice steadiness, shooting medium format hand-held.
  • Improve in-camera capture, particularly in terms of composition.
  • Limit myself to a single shot with each camera at each location.
  • Get everything as right as it can be, in camera.

#2:  Settle The Best-Camera Debate Once and For All.

  • Identify and critique the differences in image quality between iPhone, DSLR, and medium format (in particular, dynamic range).
  • Which one makes the best quality photos? The only way to really compare devices accurately is to eliminate as many technical variables as possible, use the same settings on each device, and capture the same scene at the same time of day on each device.

#3:  Make Some Art.

  • Add to my fine art portfolio.
  • Create and sell local stock images.

Gear List.

Process.

  1. Default settings on all gear: ISO 100 for lowest noise and f/11 for sharpness/depth
  2. Using Camera Sharp, compose and take a single image with iPhone
  3. Meter for shutter speed (with lock on ISO 100 and f/11) with Pocket Light Meter
  4. Set D700 to that shutter speed
  5. Compose as closely to iPhone composition as possible
  6. Take single image with D700
  7. Set same shutter speed on Rolleicord
  8. Take single frame with Rolleicord
  9. No tripod (to practice steadiness)
  10. Roughly same time of day for each location; adjusting as needed from morning/night based on east/west orientation of the signs
  11. Using Instagram, crop, filter (at whim), and post in my feed to see which images got the most feedback

Over the next few weeks I will share, in a series of posts, the results from this project. I will compare before – and – after images, critique each piece of equipment and app in terms of pros and cons, and ultimately, invite you to share which device and/or app creates the most appealing images. I hope you will come back often to review the results and share your thoughts on my findings!

– HBA

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About Mosaic Collective, LLC

I am Holly Baumann Ambuehl, founding member of Mosaic Collective, LLC, which was founded in early 2017 and is based in Central Illinois. I own and operate Mosaic Collective with my partner in business and life, my husband, Nathan. Mosaic Collective, LLC houses our rental property, my consulting contracts (with the nonprofit and public sectors on various work), and also my commercial and portrait photography business, which has been doing business as Holly Baumann Photography since 2008 long before the formation of our LLC. My blog posts feature client work, but I just love to write, so I also write about owning a business, food and drink, travel, and sometimes, my personal life! I am always honored when clients trust me to capture their vision, and equally so when my readers converse with me about what I've photographed or expressed here. I hope we'll have an opportunity to collaborate professionally and/or become friends. I'd love to hear what you think! - Holly
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