I was late to the game in purchasing mirrorless cameras mostly because a large part of my business is shooting headshots and portraits at my photography studio on Magazine Street. I have a very specific workflow and a way I like to work that allows me flexible creative freedoms with light and lens while also keeping my subject relaxed and focused. I hadn’t seen many videos or talked to anyone personally about how they used their studio workflow with their Sony mirrorless.
After attending the Sony Creative Space in New York, speaking with Sony portrait photographer Tony Gale, I had a better sense of what the Sony could do for my business and creativity.
Askia Bennett at my studio. Here I used a prism filter set to bounce light around into my lens.
I was mostly concerned with the Sony mirrorless technology not allowing me to shoot as quick and see instant results. Once I dove in without hesitation, I was able to make some simple adjustments to conform to my new-ish studio workflow. As I am still figuring out the best settings and Custom Buttons, I still feel that the basics (Aperture, Shutter, ISO, Focal Length) are still easily changeable and work in the context of my strobe settings. I do find some differences in Custom White balance that I am still exploring…like, 5200K in the Sony is NOT 5200K in Canon Mark4. Yes, different processors doing different things, so I make sure I shoot with my x-rite Color Checker Passport and spot check my WB later in Lightroom.
Askia Bennett photographed at Zack Smith Photography Studio in New Orleans. ©Zack Smith Photography
Myth busing the Sony mirrorless strobe problem
I do have to say the myth did keep me from going in on mirrorless over the last year or so. I have heard from online sources and folks in the know that there is a ‘significant lag in shutter completion and image return when shooting strobes and mirroless’. So to make short work of this – I can’t full disagree but I am going to say that the feeling is…different. Everything is different with mirrorless and especially with the Sony A7r4 you have such a large resolution popping off so fast (10 frames per second RAW files) that it is sometimes hard to stop and take a breath.
I do have to say, the means of composing and focus are different than with DSLR’s but I notice no change when using strobes if we are really going to talk about reaction times. The way I view, real time edit, and shoot again changes…but the mechanics and tech of my Sony ->Paul Buff->Sony relationship is unchanging. Even at 10 fps, I can lower the power on the Einstein, put it in Sport mode and the strobes keep up, with some lag in power around strobe 3-6.
Captain Ivery and his wife Glenda photographed at City Park.
Captain Kenneth Ivery, US Coast Guard. Shot at Zack Smith Photography Studio.
All in all I am extremely happy with my Sony A7riv and I do feel I am just scratching the surface on how to let this camera do more in the workflow of my business. I am just finding out how to be creative at the same time serve the visual needs of my clients in a confident way.
Photo of me in front of my headshot and branding studio on Magazine Street by Matthew Seymour.