Picture Methods Podcast #6

Picture Methods Podcast #6

Welcome all you fellow Picture Methods Masters – thanks for tuning in to the Picture Methods podcast. The goal here is to help all of you master your picture taking – moving you to the next level through insights and inspiration.

Today I am going to accomplish that goal in several ways and not the least of which is, I’ll bring you an interview with Nikon Ambassador and grand master portrait artist, Matthew Jordan Smith. Whether it’s Beyonce, Aretha or Oprah, Matthew has photographed some of the biggest names in the entertainment business and you’re gonna want to hear his take on how to deal with your subject to get a good session.

I’ll also have the usual roundup of news, our insights section on when/why you should upgrade your lenses, your photo Q&A, and a word of encouragement.

Before I get started I just want to mention that last month we had the man himself, Mr. Scott Kelby on the show as my special guest and he just killed it. If you missed it, you can hear that show by following the link in the show notes and while you’re there – you can catch up on all five previous episodes of the Picture Methods podcast if you’re just joining us for the first time.

And next month, Panasonic ambassador and YouTube star Photo Joseph stops by. Joseph and I go way back and you’re gonna like this interview.


Apollo Global Management LLC has announced that it is acquiring the digital imaging company Shutterfly Inc for $2.7 billion, including the company’s $900 million debt. Apollo also announced it would acquire privately held Snapfish LLC, an internet-based retailer of photography products, to merge it with Shutterfly. Shutterfly is one of the most well-known online photo printing companies used by consumers.

Because all those people buying 100megapixel cameras need bigger cards – SanDisk has announced the launch of what they claim to be the world’s first 1-Terabyte microSD Card. The card has a read speed of up to 160MB/s (“to save time transferring high-res images and 4K UHD video,” SanDisk says) and write speeds of up to 90MB/s for fast shooting. It’s ideal for smartphones, action cameras, and drones, but you can also pair it with an adapter to use it as a standard SD-format card. Price: $450.

Sony has finally announced a big, telephoto lens. The FE 600mm F4 GM OSS prime lens. Sony claims it is the lightest lens in its class at a whopping 6.7 pounds – (minus tripod adapter.) The price is $13,000. And to think people complained about the $2500 Olympus f/4 IS Pro Lens as too big, too heavy and too expensive.

Olympus has released their MC20 – 2X Teleconverter.

INSIGHTS – Lenses – Time To Upgrade?

Most photographers suffer from GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and it’s super easy to fall into the trap of thinking – wow – if I just had THAT lens, then my photography would be next level.

Unfortunately, it’s very rare that buying a piece of gear will be a big game changer for your photography, but on occasion, it can help – at least to some degree.

The first reason I can think of to upgrade that’s valid is new lenses can be a catalyst to seeing in a new way. Certainly, a fisheye or super wide angle lens will give you a new way to frame an image – as will a super telephoto. Maybe you just need a spark and if so, new lenses can absolutely help put that in motion.

Another good reason to upgrade a lens is that your current gear is failing, broken, lost, stolen, etc. If you cannot use your current lenses – for whatever reason, then of course you have to consider an upgrade. Should you replace that old trusted lens with something completely new or stick with what you had? It depends on the third reason to upgrade – which is…

You have changed your photographic genre. You went from shooting macro of insects to photographing pro sports – or you went from weddings to wildlife photography. If you went in a whole new direction that genuinely needs a different kind of lens to be successful, then it’s time to change.

Before I go further let me say that there are reasons NOT to upgrade your lenses.

1. If you think you have a so-called bad copy of a lens, chances are slim that you really do.

2. Your technique will almost always be the limiting factor in your photography, not your equipment.

3. 99% of all lenses are better than 98% of all photographers. Sometimes you just need to buckle down and practice, try to get good with what you have.

If you just want to try your hand at a new genre – say bird photography, jumping in with both feet and buying thousands of dollars worth of new gear to try something completely different may not make sense. You might want to consider renting first to see if this is something you will stick with.

I will say that back in the day I frequently upgraded my lenses and looking back, I am sad (and embarrassed) to say that I have bought a few lenses twice and one lens three times. Since lenses tend to be valuable over the course of your photographic career, it might make sense to hold on to the ones you have and add something TO your collection rather than replacing something – assuming your budget will stand the addition.

Remember – gear alone isn’t going to dramatically improve your photography. Check yourself before you buy that next piece and make sure it’s something you really want, need and will use.

Q&A Segment

Aside from posting to sites like Fine Art America and 500px.com and then hoping for the best, how would one go about finding buyers or licensees for bird/wildlife photos?

John Tucker
Euless, TX

I’m often very happy with my perching bird photos; my birds in flight tend to almost always leave something to be desired; blurry and/or too far away. I’ve tried using the settings you recommend for BIF. This past weekend I was at Lake Erie trying to get shots of terns. On C-AF tracking the camera had trouble focusing on the bird and not (say) a wave. Photos that indicated they were in focus simply weren’t sharp. I’m wondering if there’s something obvious I’m missing and/or I really need to invest in the 300mm.

Kitchener, ON

Why is it that people don’t seem too print anymore? Everyone who shows me their portfolio hands me a phone – or maybe an iPad. I remember going to photo conferences and seeing lots of prints? Is it the Internet?

Able Jones
San Diego, CA

If you have a question for the podcast, please email me – Scott@picturemethods.com. There can be no Q&A without the Q! If I use your question on the air, you’ll be eligible to win a prize next quarter. The winner from THIS quarter’s questions is Denise Beverly from Bristol, TN. She wins a new Platypod. Thanks for all your questions. We’ll have more Q&A next month and later this summer we’ll have an all Q&A show!

Next month, I am going to talk about post-processing and give you my take on post workflows. It might surprise you. And if there’s a particular subject you’d like to see me take on during the Insights portion of the show be sure to send me an email and let me know – Scott@picturemethods.com.


In this month’s show I want to encourage all of you to stop comparing yourself to others. This is very unhealthy, and isn’t profitable. You are unique. There is only one you. Focus on doing you – and let everyone else do them. Otherwise I can guarantee you this. You will be unhappy. When I was a kid, we didn’t have the Internet so people didn’t look at unrealistic portrayals of “success” that drove them to hate their own lives. Today – that seems to be the biggest threat (among many) that I see from the Internet.

The people you are comparing yourself to have their own struggles. Nobody has it easy. Just be happy for their success and move on.

I want to give you some tools to help you change this behavior….

1. Be aware – sometimes the need to compare ourselves to others is subconscious – check yourself to see if you are falling into this behavior.
2. If you do see that you are comparing yourself to others – stop – just stop it. You have a choice. Decided to stop.
3. Look at what you DO have – not what you DON’T have. There’s someone next to you who thinks you have it all. Agree with them.
4. Look at your own strengths and not your weaknesses.
5. Be ok with the fact that you may not have the newest or best camera. Just go make pictures anyway.
6. Don’t hate on others – especially if your hate is motivated by jealousy. Your hate won’t make your own situation any better. Instead of hating – try creating.
7. Focus on enjoying the ride and don’t worry so much about the destination. None of us is getting out of here alive. So be happy.

Wrapping up…

Don’t forget that next month I’ll have Photo Joseph in the house. Tell your friends.

Hey please do me a huge favor if you like the show. Please subscribe (for free) to the iTunes version of the show – even if you listen somewhere else. It helps us gain traction. Please consider subscribing (for free) to the blog – you can use the little black box that appears in the sidebar of every post to do that. It will give you updates every time there’s ANYTHING new at Picture Methods. And lastly, please consider signing up for my free quarterly newsletter – you can do so at http://bit.ly/picturemethodsnewsletter

If you do sign up for either blog updates or the newsletter you are automatically eligible to win cool prizes during the regular giveaways I do for the show and the blog. You must be 18 years old to participate. Open worldwide except where prohibited by law.

I really hope you enjoyed episode number six of the Picture Methods podcast – see you next month.

And while we’re all waiting for the next episode, let’s root for each other!

Blog: PictureMethods

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