Photography tips for SXSW

I guarantee every single person attending South by Southwest 2012 will bring at least one camera with them. (If they don’t, then they’re consciously going technology-free at the event — I’m not sure why anyone would do that though.) Hence, these tips aren’t just for people that consider themselves photographers; everyone will benefit from these.


As with all devices you take to SxSW, you’ll want to bring extra batteries and/or portable battery chargers. If you’re smartphone is your main camera, then I recommend any of these Duracell USB chargers (they can charge any USB device).


US Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, March 11th at 2:00 a.m. Austin, Texas, is in the CST (GMT -6) timezone. After Sunday, it will be CDT (GMT -5). – You want to make sure you have an accurate date/time on your camera(s). Many SxSW attendees will be traveling across multiple states and one, two, or more timezones. Most smartphones will automatically adjust their date/time as soon as you have a connection in the new timezone. Many of the latest standalone cameras will have some kind of timezone support. This will not automatically adjust unless the camera has GPS. I recommend changing the time (and date, if necessary) as soon as possible. If that’s now, then go for it. Personally, I change mine when the airline flight attendant says “prepare for landing”.


These days it’s rare that even the most snap-happy people will fill up their camera’s memory card in a single day. That is, unless you’re shooting RAW and/or HD video. Even if you only take 10 photos in one day, I recommend offloading those photos to your computer or external hard drive (if you brought either of those). Additionally, if you don’t have any backup devices (computer, hard drive) with you, then upload those photos to Flickr, Picasa, Smugmug, Picplz, Twitpic, and/or all of the above as soon as possible (at the latest, every evening in your hotel room).

Follow these tips above for a jolly relaxing and fun time at SxSW. If you enjoy photography, then join me and many others for Trey Ratcliff’s Schemer PhotoWalk at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 10th, 2012.

I’ll tweet and add more tips to this post if I discover more during the event.

Thoughts on Camera+ from @taptaptap

Update (23rd December, 2010): Camera+ 2.0 was just released. Yes, it’s back in the App Store. However, it won’t appear as an update in iTunes; it will act as a new app. Hence, you have to pay for it again. That’s correct, everything below — including the “sale” — is happening all over again.

When Lisa Bettany started tweeting (and blogging) about an iPhone camera application she had created I had very little interest.

I have several paid and free camera applications on my iPhone, but the app I use most (at this point in time) for taking photos is — funnily enough — Gowalla.

(Side note: If you want to add a photo to a location on Gowalla, then you must use Gowalla to take the image (you can’t choose a previously taken image from the iPhones ‘Camera Roll’). I like this feature because it means you HAVE to be at the location; no faking. Update (23rd December, 2010): In Gowalla version 3.0 it’s now possible to upload from the camera roll. It’s nice that I can now upload panoramas to locations, but I reckon a lot of users are going to game this feature.)

Other than that I use the default iPhone camera app.

As I saw reviews and videos of Camera+ in the wild I began to notice it’s potential and value. Plus, I discovered that the company tap tap tap actually created the app; they’ve made some great apps.

I decided to by the app at its “Introductory Price” of US$2.99, and test it out. In the App Store the description said “BUY NOW BEFORE THE PRICE INCREASE”. (That may not be word-for-word, but you get the idea.)

A week later it was available for US$0.99. I was infuriated. I was lied to. All of my peers — many of which also bought the app — were just as ticked off!

In a time when transparency equates to trust I just don’t understand why they would have blatantly lied to make more money. I care less about the extra money I paid than I do being lied too. Rah!

Back to the app.

When I first downloaded it I used it once, then never again. It just didn’t fit into my workflow.

There was an update or two since its launch, but the extra filters and support for iOS4 didn’t really matter to me.

That is, until the latest update (version 1.2) when they added the double touch feature (tap tap tap refers to it as ‘Touch Exposure’). Watch this video to see how amazing this feature is:

Should you buy this app? Only if you regularly use your iPhone as a camera — rather than a point-and-shoot or SLR.

If you do decide to purchase it, then you may want to wait until Thanksgiving/Black Friday or Christmas; when many apps go on sale. It currently sells for US$1.99 (AUD$2.49) on the App Store — this is apparently60% OFF FOR A LIMITED TIME”.

Wedding Photo Tips Wanted

On Saturday (less than two days from now) I’ll be the photographer for one of my best friends’ wedding. I took some great casual photos at her older sister’s wedding a few years ago, but now I’m the photographer.

Last night was the rehearsal — heh, it’s like an acting job — and I feel fairly confident in the area. Especially after I was told I can roam around and do whatever I want. Another person at the rehearsal jokingly told me he’d give me a Freddo Frog for every person I stop on. I told him “you’re on!” 😉

I’ve been studying the art of wedding photography through many different websites, and I feel as prepared as I can be. Though, I think I’m going to hire a Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens for some wide perspectives.

Here’s my list of equipment:

Canon EOS 400D (Rebel XTi)
Canon EOS 450D (Rebel XSi)

Canon 50mm f/1.8 II lens
Canon EFS 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens
Canon EFS 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens
Canon EFS 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS lens

Canon Speedlite 430EX

Moreover, I feel I’m covered for all focal lengths. I’ll use the 50mm f/1.8 on one camera and alternate between the 55-250mm f/4-5.6 and the 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 on the other camera. I’ll probably keep the flash on the second camera because the 50mm f/1.8 will be fine for the available light.

Here’s a bunch of fantastic sources I’ve found for wedding photography ideas:

21 Tips for Amateur Wedding Photographers
Wedding Photography Sydney Directory (tips and locations for wedding photography in Sydney)
Taylor-Made Photography (Trudi was my photography teacher at college and marked gave me full marks for my final assessment.)
Ryan Brenizer’s Amazon Blog (NYC Wedding Photographer)
Ryan Brenizer’s amazing slide show for a fun wedding (which I found from his Flickr)

Do you have any further tips for me?