Nick Coury: Blog http://www.nickcoury.com/blog en-us Nick Coury (Nick Coury) Wed, 30 May 2018 02:27:00 GMT Wed, 30 May 2018 02:27:00 GMT http://www.nickcoury.com/img/s/v-5/u685635754-o759089113-50.jpg Nick Coury: Blog http://www.nickcoury.com/blog 120 80 Vacations are for memories http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/5/vacations-are-for-memories Let's face it, we never have enough time with those we love. We are too busy "providing" for them that we forget to make time to do the "living life" with them.

This week is our family vacation: 

No email. No voice mail. No texts.

Nothing personal, it will just have to wait. I want to make memories, make some pictures and love on my kids and grandkids.

Next week I'll be back at it, 100 mph and nearly round the clock. But for now, we are riding waves and eating ice cream!

 

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(Nick Coury) beach family memories panasonic g9 vacation waves http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/5/vacations-are-for-memories Wed, 30 May 2018 02:22:14 GMT
Finding shots at events http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/5/finding-shots-at-events

Sometimes these images just "happen." Most of the time they don't.

I really enjoy covering corporate events! I always meet the most interesting people and discover lots of great things to do in our city. We've lived here for 8 years and I've documented dozens of events, but I still find places I've never been too.

Topgolf was one of the places I planned on visiting and Saturday turned out to be that day. It's not uncommon that one of the venue's I'm photographing turns out to be a cool spot that is now very high on my to do list. We've found great restuarants, museums, food and desserts while working a job. This place is awesome. I've always heard that it is fun but expensive. I can tell you it isn't expensive, in fact, it is really affordable. If you go with two other couples it will cost you less than $10.00 per person to golf. Can it get expensive? Yes! They offer lots of food and beverages and a staff that will keep them coming until you stay stop. The basic golf requires a one time, $5.00 membership that you can use anywhere in the US where they have a location. The magic happens when you see how the micro chipped golf balls track your shots and keep score. It is big, big fun and I can't wait to go there on a date night.

So, back to the image. Once you've photographed nearly every individual there at least a couple times driving the ball. You need something a little different, something visually exciting. This was what I came up with and all because the ladies wanted a picture of them toasting their "red and white" wines. Just add a blue sky and you end up with, "Red, White and Blue!"

 

 

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(Nick Coury) event golf healthcare nashville nashville event photography photographer" sports summer team building toast topgolf wine http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/5/finding-shots-at-events Tue, 01 May 2018 05:20:46 GMT
New Sony A7RIII cover shoot http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/4/new-sony-a7riii-cover-shoot Timing is everything! Waiting for the wind to stop, or catching it at its peak, provide two different results. My single favorite function of the Sony A7RIII is the autofocus. It just doesn't miss. That is huge and one of the variables I have struggled with recently. Quite possibly my single biggest complaint with most other camera lines.

 

It was a very windy day. There were 20-30 MPH winds and they didn't stop long at all. Here is one that may remind you of the famous Marilyn Monroe image.

I continue to work with this camera. I will admit that I'm not totally "in love" with it, but there are many features I am blown away by. The autofocus alone is a real game changer for me.

It's been said, "the only thing constant is change." Thats never been truer than the time we live in. Technology and time keep marching on. We can keep up, or step aside. I choose to try and keep up the best I can. Testing new cameras, lenses and lighting keeps this industry fresh and exciting for me. Occasionally I come across a product I really like and adopt it into my workflow. The Sony A7RIII is one of those items.  

 

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(Nick Coury) b2 city corecivic downtown hss magazine nashville profoto profoto b2 river skyline sony 24-105 sony a7r iii http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/4/new-sony-a7riii-cover-shoot Sun, 22 Apr 2018 11:45:35 GMT
Dancing for Safe Haven Tennessee http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/4/dancing-for-safe-haven-tennessee

For the second year in a row, I was one of the photographers for a great charity event. This evening close to $500,000.00 was raised for Safe Haven! That is a good nights work! The reality is, it takes months of planning to pull of something like this and make it look easy. Enter, Rachel Wilkins. She works tirelessly to make sure everyone has a great time and an enjoyable evening.

This was a very busy day. After working a full day, I then went to photograph a wedding for a photographer friend. I consider this a very big honor. As a photographer, we have many friends involved in our industry. When another photographer asks you to be theirs, it is a huge compliment.

This event was the same time so I had to hire some help to make the night flow. First up was the "Red Carpet" couples photography. This year we provided the 4x6 photographs immediately by printing them on site!

 

This would not have been possible without the help of my wife that moved them in and out in near record time. We have done dozens of these types of events. (Think of it as a prom for adults) Micky Bernal manned the camera and Meredith Webb made the printing and delivery flow like butter! Could not have done it without them. My good friend Steve Lowry was also there to do anything else that could have slipped by. I'm glad to report that nothing did!

 

 

 

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(Nick Coury) 24-105 ballroom celebrities dance dancing" entertainers event event photographer events formal fujix hilton mefoto nashville nashville event photography nashville hilton performers print on site prints profoto red carpet safe haven site" sony sony a7riii talent tuxedo http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/4/dancing-for-safe-haven-tennessee Fri, 13 Apr 2018 19:25:39 GMT
The camera you have with you http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/3/the-camera-you-have-with-you  It wasn't that many years ago that I was in an unusual minority of people that had a camera with them. With the incredible advancements in phone cameras, now you are in that group if you don't have one! The phones of today take better pictures than my first digital camera!

Still, there is something about having a real camera available. A few weeks ago I was an attendee at a dealer meeting and training hosted by Panasonic. The location was a beautiful California resort! I had a little free time and it looked like there may be a chance to take a nice sunset image. My travel camera is actually my wife's camera. The Panasonic FZ1000 with an incredible 25-400 Leica zoom lens! This camera is the absolute perfect travel camera for most anyone. Because I had a camera with me, this will be a beautiful print on my wall. I can print it as large as I want and it will still be beautiful. I'm glad I had this camera with me as opposed to a quick picture with my phone that wouldn't be good for anything but social posting. With the built in Wifi, I was still able to "share" it right away in my social feeds.

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(Nick Coury) #fz1000 #wherelumixgoes california california dreaming lumix panasonic peaceful road trips sunset super zoom travel http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2018/3/the-camera-you-have-with-you Tue, 13 Mar 2018 05:00:26 GMT
Blast from the past with the camera of the future-Fuji GFX and SKB Artists http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/12/blast-from-the-past-with-the-camera-of-the-future-fuji-gfx-and-skb-artist My beautiful picture

The year was 1972 and I was a Sophomore in high school. It was a pivotal time in my life, in fact, my entire life was forever changed that summer.. It was the year my best friend invited me to a bible study. In itself that was weird for a lot of reasons. First of all, we were drinking buddies, so those two things seemed kind of mutually exclusive. Second of all, I was a devout Catholic and really had never read the bible on my own. So the idea of going to a "study" just didn't make sense. David was relentless and eventually, I went just to get him to leave me alone. One time, that's all it took! Jim Lotz aka "Reverend Jim" took a few minutes to explain that God was holy and I was not, and a Holy God could never allow unholy in His presence. He also explained there was nothing I could do on my own to "earn" my way into His presence. Not a very good message up to this point, but then he shared the really good news. God loved me so much he sent his only son, Jesus to die in my place. He took all my sins, past, present and future and satisfied the payment needed to satisfy a holy God. So now when God sees me, he sees Jesus payment and me as righteous. If you know me, you know that just isn't possible. Not on my best day! This was a great trade but unfair in everyone's mind...but God's. By the way, the phrase, "but God" is one of my favorite phrases in the bible. After those words, everything changes!

So, I am a long haired kid with an afro of unbelievable size. I am carrying my bible to school every day and wore an awesome wooden cross around my neck suspended by a leather strap. Summer is coming and Campus Crusade for Christ is having a giant rally in Dallas Texas called "Explo '72" and I'm invited to go along with a bunch of kids on a bus. (take a look at the Wikipedia link) My parents were super cool and said if I earned the money, I could go. I've worked my entire life, so the money would not stop me and I was headed to Dallas!

This was awesome! There were 80,000 people crammed in the Cotton Bowl nightly with an estimated 100,000-200,000 for the last day. An 8 hour concert and messages by Billy Graham. Newsweek called us "militant Christians" and referred to this week as "The Christian Woodstock." 

This is my good friend Tommy Coomes. His group "Love Song" played at Explo '72 in Dallas

I was 16 years old when I heard them play in Dallas. We've become friends 40 years later when I met him at my job at Dury's. Like most musicians, he enjoys photography as another creative outlet, and he's good at it! Recently I had the joy of photographing him for an SKB Cases ad campaign. (the best travel cases on the planet for musicians AND photographers) Tommy brought along this "United Artist" store promo from their first album. He asked me to take a picture with it for posterity and I was only too happy to do it. When I first met Tommy he gave me a copy of this album for my collection. The music that was presented during this week would change Christian music as it was then known. This was the foundation and creation of what is called today "Contemporary Christian Music."

The portraits from this session are some of the best work I've done. More important than those images are the stories behind the people. Photography has opened doors to many places and relationships I could only imagine. I am blessed to earn a living doing something I love. I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about me. My past and my present, that have given me a promise of a unbelievable eternal future...whenever that happens. 

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(Nick Coury) . b1x b2 billy graham christian music contemporary christian music explo 72 fuji x lighting location photography musicians nashville musician photography portraits profoto sir skb skb cases http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/12/blast-from-the-past-with-the-camera-of-the-future-fuji-gfx-and-skb-artist Sat, 02 Dec 2017 12:02:20 GMT
Fall family fun at Lucky Ladd Farms http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/10/fall-family-fun-at-lucky-ladd-farms Every fall we try to take the grandkids to a farm to enjoy the activities. This year we went to Lucky Ladd Farms just south of Murfreesboro. This has been our favorite. Great slides for the kids, a giant corn maze, and tricycle racing.

Jade and Scott being super competitive. I'm not sure where she gets that from. (her Mama!)

I was the official "popcorn holder." Gigi can eat her weight in this stuff!

A girl has to keep up her energy. Seriously, she can eat this stuff until we cut her off. (She is just like her grandma)

This could be the last family of "5" portrait we take. There will be a new addition around Christmas day. The Yuppa tradition is to not find out the gender. There really is an element of fun and surprise. As a side note, Gigi is sure it is NOT a boy. We will see, Gigi. We will see.

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(Nick Coury) corn fields family farm fz1000 maze murfreesboro panasonic popcorn pumpkin pumpkin patch road trips http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/10/fall-family-fun-at-lucky-ladd-farms Tue, 31 Oct 2017 04:27:23 GMT
Fuji GFX and Profoto lights at Hemmingway's "Drink and Click" event http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/10/fuji-gfx-and-profoto-lights-at-hemmingways-drink-and-click-event We had over 100 people come out to Hemmingway's on Houston Street to play with all the Fuji cameras, and everyone had a great time. They could borrow any camera body or lens that Fuji makes and the event was totally free! We had three of Fuji's best reps working this event with us to make sure the event flowed and everyone got to shoot.

Fifty megapixels! That is a lot of data. What do you get with all that information? The obvious is super sharp images but the dynamic range is unlike anything I've ever shot. You can pin point a highlight and it will hold. Do you want subtle shadows that aren't blocked up? Then I would suggest this is your camera. Dury's has this camera system to rent by the day or week, you may want to do it just for fun. I have a couple of suggestions for you if you are considering it:

  1. If you don't think you can afford it, you may not want to rent it. This camera and the files it produces are addictive.
  2. You will want super fast, UHS-II cards as large as you want to own. The speed that it writes these files is impressive IF you don't skimp on the card speed.
  3. Fast computer and large hard drives. These are not options, they are a necessity to move this much data, but it's worth it!

Beautiful black and white images with one of the many Fuji film simulations. This is Acros with a yellow filter.

You can zoom into this image as far as you like. The detail is kind of unbelievable, it just keeps going. But if you miss the focus, just delete the file, there is nothing you can do to bring it back.

I brought along a few of my Profoto lights so we had a controlled lighting situation. We used a B1X that had the Westcott Rapid Box mounted as the modifier. The accent light was a Profoto B2 with one of my favorite and most used modifiers, the 12"x36" strip bank with grids. I brought multiple Profoto triggers so people could shoot the models on their camera or use their SD card in the GFX. Most people chose to do both and I don't blame them.

The feedback we've had has been incredible. Most are asking when we will do our next event and how they can sign up for it. Keep checking our web site, we will update it with all the fun things we have planned.

 

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(Nick Coury) all about the light b1 b2 drink and click dury's edgy fuji fujix gfx lighting nashville photography workshop photo workshop profoto seminar westcott workshop http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/10/fuji-gfx-and-profoto-lights-at-hemmingways-drink-and-click-event Fri, 13 Oct 2017 04:22:25 GMT
The "Hilton Way" keep the floor clean, it's everyones job! http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/8/the-hilton-way-keep-the-floor-clean-its-everyones-job I was photographing at the Hilton in Nashville yesterday. Here is my lighting set up. Take a close look on the floor where you see two small pieces of black tape so the subjects hit the same spot. I put these down, turned around to work on something else and when I looked back they were gone! The "Hilton way" is if it doesn't belong there pick it up, especially the floor! I didn't see anyone scrape them off the floor. It was quick, now you see it, now you don't

This seems so simple, but how many times a day do we step over or go around something that doesn't belong there? Do you think, "it's not my job?" I was talking to my friend Brad who is a Sales Manager there and I told him what happened. We laughed but he then explained, "the floor is a high priority, especially the lobby. If only housekeeping did this, they wouldn't get anything else done." It is everyones responsibility from Management down to make this place immaculate. 

Speaking of Brad, here is his portrait I shot using the lighting you see above. I like the dark to light contrast of this composition and was able to utilize the existing windows and drapes to add some background interest. The mood is casual but very professional.

This is a simple but effective lighting set up. By blending the studio lights and available light, I achieved a dimensional look. You can't create this with available light only. That image would have been very flat and look more like a snapshot. It could work, but not for the Hilton, that is not the message they are sending. Nothing is accidental and almost nothing is impossible. Top notch in every aspect. I am blessed to be able to work with this company and their excellent staff in Nashville.

I love my job! I have access "behind the scenes" of many businesses and organizations. I am a better photographer and business person as a result of these exposures. I want to be learning constantly and improving how I perform at my job and in my life.

 

 

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(Nick Coury) convention city event events fuji fujix hilton lighting mefoto music city convention photography nashville nashville event photography portraits profoto profoto b1x the event venue http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/8/the-hilton-way-keep-the-floor-clean-its-everyones-job Wed, 30 Aug 2017 11:46:25 GMT
Total Eclipse 2017 - Once in a lifetime http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/8/total-eclipse-2017---once-in-a-lifetime In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Genesis 1:1-3

It's a good thing a picture is worth a thousand words. There just aren't enough words to describe what we were able to see this week. Nashville was right in the direct path of the total eclipse. Most of the world was not. Many people planned this trip for years coming from countries all over the world. All the time, planning and expense for a light show that lasted approximately 2 minutes. I was wondering if it was all hype, or would it be some super show. It was a show!

Working in the photo industry, I read a lot about this event weeks before the date it happened. We anticipated that during the eclipse the store would be empty. The owners suggested we head outside and take it all in, they even provided the glasses for us! I was able to get the filters we needed to shoot pictures from Breakthrough Filter Company, they generously offered them to the staff free of charge! The filters were needed for all the pictures except totality. I had my Fuji X Pro 2 set up on a tripod with 16 stops of ND. (The total eclipse images were taken with my Fuji X-T2, the 100-400 and no filtration at all)

I have to admit that the weather was looking uncooperative. The clouds were moving in and out leading up to the moment of "totality." When that happened, it was cloudy initially, but then it opened up for about a minute. That was all I needed to get a few frames. The opening image is called "Diamond Ring" for obvious reasons. This last one is the moment of totality. (Check out the cool sun flares at 3 and 5 o'clock on the sun)

I hope you were able to see and enjoy this event. This was potentially a once in a lifetime event. I am so glad I was able to experience and photograph this incredible display of God's majesty!

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Psalm 19:1

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(Nick Coury) 16 stops of neutral density breakthrough diamond ring eclipse eclipse central fuji fuji 100-400 fuji x pro 2 fuji x-t2 light show nashville events nashville total eclipse solar flares total eclipse http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/8/total-eclipse-2017---once-in-a-lifetime Fri, 25 Aug 2017 03:37:40 GMT
Good help is hard to find http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/8/good-help-is-hard-to-find The funny thing about photography, like many businesses, is that it's feast or famine. Seems like either you are waiting for the next job to quote or trying to figure out which jobs to say "no" to. The only solution that makes sense is to have a few photographers that you trust enough to work with you. I feel I am blessed to have several photographers I enjoy working with. These are guys that will deliver...no matter what happens.

Why trust is important

  • Will they show up early and treat your clients like you treat them?
  • Will they be dressed appropriately?
  • Will they promote you or themselves?
  • Do they own the right gear?
  • Do they have backup gear?
  • Are they flexible enough to think on their feet and be able to create the challenging images that the client will ask for?

Matthew Jordan Smith and I at his recent seminar in Nashville

Recently I've made a new friend. Actually, I became reacquainted with him at an event I was working for Dury's. Matthew Jordan Smith had a tour in the US that both of us were at. It was providence that we would both be there. Ron Pollard and Matthew are friends. Ron has shot with and for Matthew so I knew he was good. Even more important, he was fun to be around and had great people skills. For some reason, I was impressed to pursue more conversation with Ron and I'm glad I did. In the top photo, he is working with me at a recent event on the roof of Acme Feed & Seed in Nashville. He is showing Ben from MP&F some of his images and this is important. It lets the client know what we are doing. It also gives them the chance to offer more direction to us. More of some images, less of these...it helps assure we deliver what they are expecting. (MP&F is one of my favorite clients to work with, I probably shouldn't say I have a favorite, but everything they do is first class. It's no surprise they were recently voted one of the best places to work in Nashville for the 5th consecutive year)

I am thankful for this friend and work associate. I am concentrating on building my photography business like never before. I really enjoy event photography! Meeting new people at cool locations and giving them a photographic record that they can use immediately on social media or promote their brand is satisfying and challenging. With the addition of Ron, I can offer more extensive coverage or provide coverage at multiple events. 

If you need event photography or have a friend that needs coverage, please send them our way. We will take care of them and they will thank you. I thank you too!

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(Nick Coury) acme feed & seed b1x b2's friends fuji x pro 2 fujix jack daniels matthew jordan smith mp&f music city nashville nashville event photographer nashville event photography nashvilles premier event photographer photography profoto ron pollard rooftop skyline uncle nearest http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/8/good-help-is-hard-to-find Sat, 05 Aug 2017 12:47:36 GMT
Fuji GFX demo at Dury's http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/7/fuji-gfx-demo-at-durys It's hard to even understand what a 50 meg file looks like. Even when you view it on your computer, it's just unbelievable! Once you've shot it and looked at the files, you are ruined for most everything else!

We had a day where customers could come in and shoot the camera here in the store. I brought in my personal Profoto lights and modifiers so they could experience the best of the best. This combination of lighting and camera is as good as it gets in my opinion.

Enough text lets see some images!

This young lady was in the store as a customer, not our model. She has such a beautiful look that I asked her to model for a few shots. I'm glad I did, this turned out beautiful. This may look like just another nice image to you, so here is a 100% crop sized to 8x10 of her eye.

I know this is kinda weird, but just look at that detail! This is cropped from the JPEG out of the camera with no post processing. I don't know about you, but please never photograph me with this camera and show this much crop.

Michael Bulbenko from Fuji has been a friend for many years. He is one of Fuji's best tech guys and a great shooter too. When I offered to set up a studio and get a model, he was all in. I don't think there is anyone in the US with more hands on time with the GFX than Michael, so he was the best possible person to show it off.

This is one of my images of Daley that I shot during the day. I rarely get to shoot very many because I am helping the customers and that's fine, it's what I'm paid to do. I can tell you this camera will absolutely ruin you for whatever you currently own. This camera is 1.6X larger than a full frame sensor! But, the physical size of the body is deceiving. It weighs the same or less than a Nikon D5 and it costs the same too! The Fuji lenses are second to nothing I've ever used. They are super sharp and very affordable. 

Lisa Johnson and my good buddy Steve Lowry have been friends for years. You have got to see some of her beautiful guitar photography. Here is Lisa's website. While she was in Nashville, she rented this camera for a few sessions. After a weekend of use she was a believer. She is now the proud owner of her very own GFX and a couple lenses that I shipped her this week. I am super stoked to share with you some of her images and I will as soon as I get the OK from Lisa.

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(Nick Coury) 101 rock guitars b1x" profoto "profoto b2 b2 creative portraits demo day dury's fashion fuji fuji professional fuji x gfx guitar incredible lighting it's all about the light lisa johnson profoto s" http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/7/fuji-gfx-demo-at-durys Fri, 21 Jul 2017 12:31:06 GMT
If the service is good, say so! http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/7/if-the-service-is-good-say-so

Do you know that statistically, people are more likely to go online and write a negative review more than a positive review? People love to complain and tell everyone that they've been wronged. But when they receive excellent service they remain silent. Don't believe me? Just look up a Yelp! or Amazon reviews, you'll see what I mean.

We were traveling back from Savannah on the 4th of July and we stopped at a McDonald's in Dublin Georgia. I was blown away, so much that I went online and wrote the following review:

This is the absolutely best McDonald's I've ever been to. The manager runs a very tight and SUPER FRIENDLY crew! It was more like a Chick-Fil-a than a McD's! Every staff member greeted us with a smile. It was immaculately clean and they were cleaning. It was the 4th of July, who wants to work on a holiday? You couldn't tell it from this crew. They opened the door, said hello, asked how we were...impressive. This manager should train managers for you! She is teaching life skills to her staff and they may not know it. She is investing much that they are not getting anywhere else. Initial perspective was rural Georgia, lots of kids, ho hum attitude. I was so wrong! Motivated, happy and enthused about their jobs. Reminded me more of  Job Corps situation (I photograph their facilities for advertising) WELL DONE. I called her over to tell her it was a highlight of our road trip and that she had the best crew I've ever experienced. I have never filled out a McD's review, I HAD to do it this time.

I probably eat at McDonald's half a dozen times a year, it is not my fast food of choice. This was more than a food stop, this gave me renewed hope for these young adults. We all have the opportunity to invest in the next generation. They are looking for role models and sadly they may not get it at home. I want to be that positive model to those I have a chance to impact.

Speaking of "fan mail" I don't receive it all that often. That same day, the morning of the 4th of July I received an email note from an event client I just worked with a few weeks ago. She represented a large Association from Illinois and she wrote me this on a holiday morning:

Hi Nick, thank you so much for your professionalism and fabulous photos taken at our conference – we have never gotten our hands on them so quickly and appreciate it!!!  If we make our way back to Nashville, you will be my first call!  Thanks,

This made my day! Look, we all enjoy being recognized when we go above and beyond. Many bosses fail miserably at this and miss opportunities to say thank you for a job well done. Thank you for coming in early or staying late. Thank you for covering the unexpected need that popped up. Two little words, "thank you." It can change your day and your attitude. Don't miss the chance to say that phrase!

 

 

 

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(Nick Coury) amazon bankers chick-fil-a convention dublin georgia mcdonalds fan mail nashville event photographer nashville events reviews speak up yelp http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/7/if-the-service-is-good-say-so Sat, 08 Jul 2017 11:55:29 GMT
Make sure you're having fun with photography too! http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/6/make-sure-youre-having-fun-with-photography-too

 

When you've been taking pictures for as long as I have, it is easy to lose the "fun and creative" aspect that got us hooked on this incredible art form. I am not saying that most of what I produce is art, in fact, it is not. It is marketable and has value, but not from an artistic perspective. 

Every time I photograph a job if I'm able, I try to produce something special for me. This image may have zero value to the client or relevance to the job they are paying me to do. It does help nourish my creative side and keep me "looking and creating."

My friend Nathan turned 40 this year and I offered to photograph his party. He is one of the most incredibly talented people you will ever meet. Even more than that, he is one of the nicest! We were doing some portraits of his artist friends and he was doing most of the photography, it is what he wanted to do. I was watching him and I thought this would be a good chance to make an image of him doing what he loves.

He is photographing his friends on a huge white cyc wall at Westlight Studios. The light illuminating his face is reflecting off that wall. I love the way it lights him from the front and gently falls off his face. The back wall was lit independently and the hot spot was intentional.

It is also worth mentioning that I was experimenting with a new camera that a manufacturer had provided us to test shoot with. I tossed it in my bag and used this evening as a testing ground. I didn't fall in love with the camera, but I did produce an image that I like a lot. I only shot a few dozen files with this camera, so getting one I like is a pretty big deal, especially while working a job.

Keep on playing, it will prevent premature burn out!

 

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(Nick Coury) Fuji Fuji XT-2 Lighting NPC Nathan Chapman Panasonic Studio Westlight Westlight Studio birthday birthday party lighting party party photography, portraits http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/6/make-sure-youre-having-fun-with-photography-too Mon, 26 Jun 2017 05:11:59 GMT
HSS with Fuji camera system, what is the hold up? http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/6/hss-with-fuji-camera-system-what-is-the-hold-up

I have been a very happy Fuji X-shooter for nearly 5 years. I started with the X Pro 1, and have added each new model as they have been introduced. I have sold dozens, maybe hundreds of customers Fuji cameras and lenses, and they are happy with their decisions too. They are making great images and documenting their families growth and milestone events. Fuji cameras allow me to focus on the creative process and not get bogged down with the technical side of image capture.

In my opinion, there are two major features that are keeping Fuji from converting more pros to their brand.

  1. They need to figure out TTL in a way that really works every single time. It works fairly well with their 500 flash, but still not up to par with Nikon and Canon. It also works in a few Nissin speedlights, but your choices are much less than other lines.
  2. The biggest missing feature is HSS-High Speed Synch. It must be added to the mix, especially with the addition of the incredible GFX medium format system. This missing feature will hold back many pro commercial photographers from making the switch to Fuji.

In 2017 with all the resources that are available globally, there is no reason Fuji can't accomplish this. I have to believe there is someone, somewhere that can write the protocol to make this happen. When Olympus beats you to the punch, you have a very real problem. Based on market share alone, that shouldn't happen. Even Sony who has typically been the last company to "share information" has given Profoto what they need so TTL works flawlessly with (most of) their cameras.

I shoot Fuji because I like most everything about their "look." It is the only camera I've found that I can deliver JPEG's SOOC (straight out of camera) and spend zero time in post processing. The flesh tones and color are superior to any other camera that I have tried. In my job, at Dury's I get to try every major brand of camera and test it in my working environment. Most recently I tested the Panasonic GH5, it is an incredible camera. I would say that it does many, many things exceptionally well. The 5-way image stabilization is unbelievable. The way it focuses and tracks, unmatched. In fact, it has some unique features that have me thinking about this camera as a new system. It's major holdback to me, the JPEG's just aren't the same look that I love with Fuji. One other problem is that the Profoto solution isn't available, yet. It should happen soon because it is similar to other cameras protocol.

That said, I find myself at a crossroads in my thought process. Do I stick around and cross my fingers hoping that Fuji will fix this issue? If they won't address it and see the need for it, chances are they aren't going to fix it. Do I just admit it's been a great run with Fuji and move on to another camera line? (that is really the last thing I want to do!) If so, what line do I select? Having been mirrorless for 5 years, I don't see myself making a move back to a DSLR for many, many reasons.

The most difficult thing for me is my transition to Profoto lighting has me wanting more from my camera system. I've never entertained these two features, I just resigned myself to the fact it wasn't possible. The reality is, my lighting was keeping me from considering these options. That isn't a problem anymore, so now it is solely a camera issue.

What to do...?

 

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(Nick Coury) Dury's Fuji Fuji X Pro 2 HSS High Speed Synch Panasonic Profoto Sony TTL cameras lighting portraits problems http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/6/hss-with-fuji-camera-system-what-is-the-hold-up Mon, 19 Jun 2017 03:02:55 GMT
Power to spare for location portraits http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/6/power-to-spare-for-location-portraits Until recently, I would have rated all "battery powered lights" by their watt second, (Ws) rating only. I admit it is a great place to start so you are comparing "apples to apples." What I can tell you is, the numbers can be deceiving. What exactly is a watt second anyway?

For the Techies out there, I visited Wikipedia to get a definition: A watt second (also watt-second, symbol Ws or W·s) is a derived unit of energy equivalent to the joule.[1] The watt-second is the energy equivalent to the power of one watt sustained for one second. While the watt-second is equivalent to the joule in both units and meaning, there are some contexts in which the term "watt-second" is used instead of "joule".

Does that make it clearer? If not, maybe this will help. This is the following statement offered as if to make it all more easily understood: "The energy rating a flash is given is not a reliable benchmark for its light output because there are numerous factors that affect the energy conversion efficiency. For example, the construction of the tube will affect the efficiency, and the use of reflectors and filters will change the usable light output towards the subject. Some companies specify their products in "true" watt-seconds, and some specify their products in "nominal" watt-seconds."[2]

Enough! Let's look at some images to see what all this has to do with photography anyway. I mean, if you can't make a beautiful image, what good is all this knowledge?

I love outdoor portraits! To quote Paul Simon, "I love the greens of summer..."

What is better than adorable kids? Nothing! 

If you stood the West children in that super bright light, you would have them squinting and complaining, so would I if you stood me there! Placing them in open shade is a great idea, but you have a couple terrible outcomes. First of all, too much of a good thing. Green is great, except when it overtakes the flesh tones and then it looks terrible. By adding a proper amount of fill light from the B2, my colors are beautifully neutral. If you don't do this, or you subscribe to the "I'm an available light photographer" club, you can not pull this off. If you open up to expose them properly, it will look like a scene from "Touched by an angel." They will glow and the background will be blown out, pure white. You may as well take them inside and photograph them on a white cyc wall, it will look the same minus the green grass.

(I know, I know, I should have used a faster shutter speed to knock down the background and blur it out a bit. Shooting above f11 is not my preference. I am a proud Fuji X shooter, but they are missing the boat in one area specifically. There is no HSS available. How can this be? it is 2017 and almost everyone else has it. I have been putting my thoughts together on that and it will be the subject of a future blog)

Just another image, taken on another day with a much larger group. This is our family and it is lit with just one Profoto B2 at full power, 250 Ws pulled way back, maybe 15-20' from the group so I could get even coverage from left to right, and top to bottom.

Our son-in-laws are 6'4 and 6'5 tall. (we are not standing in a hole) Something about the design of the Profoto built in reflector, it is super efficient and gives great coverage. We took about 130 images this day of all the sub groups here. The B2 was full power for many of those exposures. I still had over 50% of the pack left when we were done. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't need my back up battery.

I have been able to do more with less Ws. Comparing the Profoto B2's that are rated at 250 Ws and my former light that was 400 Ws, there is just a difference in the way it translates into output. And at the end of the day, that is what really counts. Great light, great coverage, consistent exposures and efficient use of power.

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(Nick Coury) 50-140mm adoption available light b1x b2 clover bottom mansion family forever home fuji fuji x photographer fuji x-t2 great light hermitage hills kids kodachrome location portraits nashville family photographer parents portraits profoto http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/6/power-to-spare-for-location-portraits Sun, 11 Jun 2017 22:53:22 GMT
Location "Head shot" lighting made easy with Profoto http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/6/location-head-shot-lighting-made-easy-with-profoto Switching to new equipment is never really easy. In fact, most of us hate change! We get so used to whatever it is or was that we know all the "work arounds" to make less than great stuff, just get the job done.

Someone introduces us to a new way or a new tool and we are typically skeptical. I'd like to think I am not that guy when it comes to photography gear. In the last 40+ years of doing this, I've seen a lot of changes, we all have. Some of them are good and some not so good or even bad!

I admit that I love lights and I love lighting. I enjoy making a good image better by adding some additional controlled lights. I also enjoy location corporate head shot photography. Going to my client's place of work and setting up in their conference room means their staff is only away from their desks for a minimal amount of time. This also means they are in familiar surroundings and it doesn't feel quite as sterile or even weird for them. They just walk down the hall and are done in short order.

Headshots according to Nick: I use a four light set up. I like the look and I like the control it allows. Could I do it with less lights? Sure, but why would I? With Profoto B2's I am able to take what I need in just a couple of small bags.

 

Here is my location lighting gear:

  1. Two Profoto B2 250 AirTTL Location Kits
  2. One B2Air TTL Extension Cable
  3. One OCF Softbox 1x3' with grids
  4. Medium Deep White Umbrella with optional translucent cover
  5. Softbox 3x4' RFI
  6. B1x 500 for larger groups or outdoors if needed. I take two units, just in case

It really doesn't take much room to set up a location studio. It does take great gear that is easily transported. I believe I have this down to a science and I'm super happy with what I'm using right now. Here are some shots of my last location job. View from my Fuji XT-2 camera position: A single head B2 kit is powering the OCF 12x36" strip bank with grids. This is my "go to" separation light and has been for years. I will be adding another B2 head so I can use it as a "grided" background light behind the subject. 

I use a 60" fill light in most situations. Because of the distance, I added an extension cable to the B2 head and used the same pack that powered my main light that was an umbrella with diffusion cover. 2 lights, 200 ISO at f11, no problem. The 250 watt second rating on these units is a little deceiving to me. They seem to put out much more energy than that, for sure they are the most efficient battery lights I've ever used! In addition, you can split these packs 50/50 and that is huge! I have never had that option in the past, this opens up many more possibilities.

My location lighting kit is much smaller and lighter, and it is more efficient. I personally prefer the 4 light look and this makes it more compact and quick.

 

 

 

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(Nick Coury) 50-140 AirTTL B2 CPA Fuji MeFoto Nashville head shot photographer Profoto X-T2 actors corporate head shots deep umbrella head lighting location photography professionals realtors shots http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/6/location-head-shot-lighting-made-easy-with-profoto Fri, 09 Jun 2017 10:38:19 GMT
Old dog, new tricks? http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/5/old-dog-new-tricks

 

1956. That was the year my wife and I were born. I am on my 61st trip around the sun and thankful for every single one of them. Fourty five of those years I've been involved in photography! I photographed my first wedding in 1972 as a Sophomore in high school. (I still can't believe someone trusted me with that responsibility) Hundreds of weddings and events later, it is still what I do and love.

The only thing constant is change. As you know by now, I have officially changed my lighting system to Profoto. This has been a decision I've considered in the past but never could see the reason to do it. I thought it would be interesting to share some of the details about such a big change.

A few weeks ago I reached out to my long time friend, Mark Rezzonico who is the President of Profoto. I told him I was considering making a move. This started a journey that included comparing what I have versus what I would need. This process was a great exercise and very much like moving your home. You can get rid of items you no longer use and buy what you need. I've already decided that I made excellent decisions in my gear mix. I do want to tweak one selection. I bought one single head B2 kit and one two head kit. This should have been two of the two head kits. I'll have some images to demonstrate why soon, but this is a very easy fix. I'll just add another head and cable and it's done!

Since my first post about this change, I've had several emails and calls asking for more specifics. Most are friends that own other brands of lighting and are interested in how it's going and what is the big difference. They are photographers that feel the same way I do, it's all about light!

The best light you can own, is one you will use and you don't mind taking with you.

Size and portability - check

Self contained units (battery powered) - check

Quick recycle and lots of power -CHECK!

Pretty much sums up how I feel about the B2's and the brand new B1X units I own.

 

 

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(Nick Coury) 1956 B1x B2 Elinchrom Profoto change great light innovative lighting lights location location lighting http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/5/old-dog-new-tricks Tue, 30 May 2017 12:17:23 GMT
Making the transition to Profoto lighting http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/5/making-the-transition-to-profoto-lighting After a 20+ year run with Elinchrom, I made the decision to switch to Profoto lighting. This decision was not taken lightly and without the help of Mark Rezzonico, Eric Replogle and Chris Fain, it would not have happened. When you are considering making this kind of change, there are many things to weigh out. It was a substantial investment in time and research. I watched many of the excellent videos on the Profoto site and read blogs by their featured photographers. I have to say this was a decision based on where Profoto is now and where they are heading into the future. I will elaborate on how that came to be at a later time, but for now, I want to illustrate some of the results from my maiden voyage with the incredible Profoto B2 system.

When I buy any new product, I try to spend as much time as I can getting acquainted with it. The more I use it, the more familiar I am and when I'm out on a job there are usually less "unknowns" to throw me off my game. You never want to be fumbling with your gear in front of your client.

First stop is a golf outing for the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors benefiting Habitat for Humanity. Hermitage Golf Course was our beautiful venue on a bright and sunny Spring day. I had an idea that just may make my life simpler. What if I mounted a Profoto B2 light on the cart canopy? I would have 250 watt seconds of power...all day long!

This is a close up of the Super Clamp that held it firmly in place all day long The power pack rode in the basket behind my seat

My thought was, I would drive up to the foursomes, hop out of the cart and take their picture. The light was mounted on the "drivers side" so I could simply stand up and shoot. It is worth mentioning that I have been shooting exclusively the Fuji X camera system. High Speed Synch (HSS) or High Synch is not an option for this camera. That said, I needed a lot of power to fill in for the sun since shooting at higher shutter speeds was just not an option. I was maxed out at 1/250 for my max shutter. How did it work? You be the judge.

There was no way could I get this even of lighting on a group with a speed light! Light under the hat brims and matching the back light on the subjects, I was impressed. The best part of this is, I did not run out of power and had super consistent files to work with, minimizing post processing time.

I am very impressed by the Profoto B2 for several reasons:

  1. It went all day long on one battery. That is super efficient power management.
  2. The standard head reflector was perfect for this situation. It matched the quality of sunlight and looked very believable.
  3. The head is rugged and sturdy, it never moved. (you can believe I checked it from time to time to see how it was riding)
  4. It did not overheat or shut down, even in the bright sun.
  5. Although it is rated at 250 Ws, it performs much better than that in my opinion. I was concerned it may not be enough but that was not the case at all. 

At the end of this long day, it was a very welcome surprise to see that my experiment worked. I am the first to admit this was overkill for a charity event. Or was it? I love the results and it made post processing much easier, it took no more effort than a speed light with many batteries. If I had tried that solution there is no way I would have achieved the same coverage and quality of light.

I will say this is the best equipment purchase I've made since my decision to go mirrorless with Fuji nearly 5 years ago. The ability to deliver JPEG's straight out of the camera with accurate flesh tones is still my first priority. This event was photographed with the 18-135mm lens on a Fuji X-T2 camera.

I've been busy shooting so I'll have more to share soon. 

 

 

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(Nick Coury) b2 event photography events fuji x fundraiser gnar greater nashville association of realtors habitat for humanity lighting nashville nashville's favorite event photographer old hickory golf course profoto http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/5/making-the-transition-to-profoto-lighting Tue, 23 May 2017 06:04:07 GMT
Event Photography http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/4/event-photography I've been blessed with a lot of event photography this first quarter. I don't know that I ever gave much thought to this area of photography, but the truth is, I enjoy it!

Many times there are "team building" events like this one at Nashville Karting downtown by Nissan Stadium. This looks like a quick snap shot but the truth is it's far from that. It takes a long zoom lens, lots of portable powerful light and a fair amount of training to get these guys having the time of their lives at up to 35 mph indoors!

It is pretty hectic at times. Clients occasionally need the images right away and they may not be sure how to communicate that to you. Be prepared! If you own it, you better take it with you.

"Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!"  Unkn

Do you need portraits at your event? No problem, we can bring lighting and even backgrounds to provide staff head shots while you have all your employees together at one time. In fact, providing head shots on location is one of our specialties and we have a great client list to prove it.

Dancing with the Stars Gala Fundraiser - Hilton Downtown, Nashville                        

                             Chances are you will need portraits at a step-and-repeat backdrop

Family Care Services 75th Anniversary

  Smaller venues like the George Jones Museum, Nashville allow for one on one meetings Senator Frist addressing a group at Nashville Healthcare Fellows

We are available for events wherever they are happening. All of our equipment is "travel ready" at a moment's notice. Just tell us where to be, and how to dress, you can confidently leave the rest to us. If you have an event coming up soon, just send an email to nickcoury@me.com or use the "contact" button on our site. We will be glad to quote it for you and get it scheduled.

 

 

 

 

                                                       

 

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(Nick Coury) country music hall of fame event photography events freeman fundraising hilton nashville nashville's event photographer omni on location portable portraits pro-bono stealth thinktank travel venue westin http://www.nickcoury.com/blog/2017/4/event-photography Mon, 17 Apr 2017 17:53:10 GMT