It's about the artist...

Someone recently asked me if I'd be willing to answer a couple of questions about photography careers for a school project they were doing and 2 things struck me about it and they kind of tie together. First, I went on a little bit of a tangent about what it means to be a photographer and what's most important. And what came out of it was that it's not about the camera or anything else, it's about the photographer. There are a couple photographers around Chicago, one specifically comes to mind, that take okay photos because they have good cameras. But the compositions are all so contrived, "standard wedding shot here, standard there, let's over process in light room". That's not to say I haven't done shots here or there to cover what the couple has seen everywhere else, but I also go out of my way to deliver images that other people can't. The other thing that got me thinking in the interview was that this field is going to be about the ability to deliver the highest quality image. Not photo. What's that mean? It means that there won't be photographers in the classic sense in a decade. There is a need for a creative professional that can deliver still and video content effectively. Sure, there will still be wedding photographers but anyone who can shoot video can shoot photos. And photographers are falling behind because not all photographers can shoot (and edit/author) video. Go to your favorite photographers website and look at how old they are. They're not going away anytime soon and as the high end productions become fewer and fewer, those established photographers are going to book them. You must have more than one competency or you will be going away with those high end productions.

Innovation

I've been doing a lot of work for an innovation agency as of late and I had to do a quick (and I mean quick) photo shoot with one of the founders of the company early this morning for a new book he's releasing.  I had about 10 minutes to get 3 or 4 setups, indoors and out with almost no planning.  Luckily I'm used to those sorts of things, so I got some great stuff.  Here are some selects.

It's Finally Here!

It's been a busy past 12 months. I travelled the world. Took hundreds of thousands of photos. Met amazing people. Photographed some awesome couples. And was just generally insanely busy. As a result my website fell by the wayside. It's time to change that. This week I launched all new websites, with new content and a new look. It's split into 3 sites so that the wedding couples don't have to sift through the music stuff, and the music archive people don't have to look through my video work, and so on. I think it's a great way to structure it and will work out well for what I want to accomplish. Take a look through and let me know what you think. CalEngel.com :: This is my portfolio site. It features my music, portrait, video, and portfolios. When you're wondering what's new that I've been shooting, this is where you would want to go.

CalvinEngel.com :: This is my wedding portfolio site. It's important to keep the wedding stuff separate from the other stuff. Because brides & grooms don't care about last week's concert, they care about you being focused on their day. At least that's how I felt when I was looking for a photographer for my wedding.

DontBeScene.com :: This is my music photography archive. Wondering where you can see that shot from last night's show, you'll find it here.

Wish I had more time...

Tour is going GREAT.  Above is my home away from home (and hotels).  We've got the best bus driver ever, if I win the lotto and need someone to drive me around on a bus he'll be the guy.  I've got a ton to update on here and will hopefully get to that later this week.  But I've been asked a couple times what I shoot with and I just got some new gear so I wanted to fill anyone in who might care...

Cameras

Canon 5d Mark II - love the full frame sensor and I love the images from this camera, it's my go to

Canon 7d - this is newer to me, but I wanted multiple video frame rates (as I also do video), and the crop sensor for adding some length to my telephotos

Lenses

28mm f/1.8

16-35mm f/2.8L

50mm f/1.8

24-70mm f/2.8L

70-200mm f/2.8L

Other

2 x Canon 580 Speedlights

Gary Fong Lightsphere

6 x 500gb Lacie Rugged HDs

15" Macbook Pro

17" Macbook Pro

iPhone 4

Many accessories to keep it all rolling.

finding inspiration...

The winter in Chicago is always a tough time to find inspiration. It's so gray and cold people don't really go out. Then New Years rolled around and I went out to the Beck's NYE event that I shot some stuff for earlier in the month (see my other blog posts). I rolled up to see a portrait I shot at 15' tall, it was pretty amazing. Then I took a quick walk through the venue and my images were blown up everywhere. It helps inspire you to see your work printed in a large format, with hundreds of people stopping by to look at and enjoy the images. Here are some shots and a couple of favs from the night...

A few days with Thrice

One of my favorite bands of all time is Thrice. This year has been great because this spring I got to spend some time documenting their recording process for Beggars. And I headed out to a few of their headlining shows when they were around last month. These are some of my favorite pics from those days...

Beck's Music Export

I spent the 3 of the last 4 nights out and about in wicker park shooting for Beck's. They put on events where the bands playing were vying for a spot to open up the Beck's New Years Eve show (which I'm also shooting) with The Virgins, Airborne Toxic Event, and Mark Ronson. It was a challenging assignment because there were not many people around and they were looking for a lot of high energy shots. But I got some great stuff and it was a lot of fun. Here are some of my favs...

are polaroids dead?

The film is, but hopefully the love for them isn't.  I picked up a polaroid back for my Holga and I plan to take one shot of the people and places I encounter this week at sx.  Should be an interesting project.

new 5d mkII

busted out the cammy for my first time at metro the other night (still waiting to hear on the house photog gig with them).  It's a pretty sweet little cam.  Shot everything at 3200 iso with the 24-70mm f/2.8L.  Not a big fan of the lens, but the camera is dope.  The files however are HUGE... 25mb each.  I could shoot about half what I normally would be able to since the files are twice the size and I'm only rocking 18gb right now.  Anyways, here are some favs from Ludo and Sing it Loud...