Friday, March 1, 2013

Taking Photos at CHA: iPhone vs. DSLR

Since I started working at Craft Tests Dummies I've had the absolute pleasure of attending three CHA's as a member of the media and press.  My job has primarily been to take photos of all the new products and videos of demos.  Taking photos at the show can prove a little difficult due to wonky lighting on the floor and then any added booth and decorative lighting.  Oh, not to mention there's usually about twenty other people trying to look at the same product you are trying to photograph.  And it's also imperative that members of the press and media stay out of buyer's and store owners way while they're ordering.  So, there's lots to think about!

The first two CHA's I strictly used my DSLR (Nikon D40x).  I made the mistake to only take my 35mm fixed lens the first day.  I thought this was a logical choice because it took the best photos in low light and had the best stabilization and less chances of noise and blur.  I quickly learned a lens that can zoom is a  must; especially when THE Donna Martin (aka The stubborn virgin on 90210, aka Tori Spelling) was premiering  her new line of assemblage jewelry and I couldn't get a good shot at all of her!  The next day I switched to my 18-55mm, which is your standard kit lens, but also carried my 35mm and 55-200mm just in case I had any celebrity sightings. I was fairly happy with my photos.  The colors were still weird in some because of the bijigitty lighting and all weren't perfectly in focus even though I tried to adjust the ISO and exposure. 

Here's a Heidi Swapp display I took at the first show (Winter 2012) :

The second show (Summer 2012) I brought my SB-600 giganto external flash with me.  I was hoping this would help with some of the lighting issues.  I packed all of my lenses to take with me but I mostly used the 18-55mm.  I didn't have a fancy phone yet, as I didn't at the last show.  This was kind of a pain when I was trying to tweet updates from the show floor.  I had my iPad at this point now, but those photos were just terrible.  I even purchased an eye-fi card that was *supposed* to automatically send photos from my DSLR to my iPad but this never worked for me.  

Here's a Heidi Swapp display where I used the external flash at this show: 

Finally!  This past Christmas before Winter 2013 CHA the husband bought me a brand new iPhone 5.  I was so excited!  The first day at CHA I took the DSLR and the iPhone.  Let me say, I quickly ditched the DSLR in my JoTotes camera bag and stuck to the iPhone.  I didn't realize how much of a hassle it was to get a photo with my DSLR compared to a quick snap of the iPhone.  Also, to tweet photos from on the floor to my twitter followers to see what I was seeing at that moment at the show was AMAZING.  Oh not to mention, as soon as I got back to my hotel room and needed to start writing my daily post for the website the photos were automatically uploaded to my PhotoStream on my computer.  No more SD cards!  And they also of course downloaded straight to my iPad.  (Now I'm just sounding like a spoiled brat!)  The quality isn't quite on par, but the ease of it is incomparable. I didn't even bother bringing my DSLR on the show floor the second day and left it in my suitcase in the press room to have "just in case." By the third day it was getting locked up in my hotel room safe.

So here's a photo of a Heidi Swapp display using the iPhone (unfortunately I didn't get a full-display photo this time):

Like I said the first day of the Winter CHA 2013 show was the only day I had my DSLR.  Here are some photos I took and comparisons with the iPhone.




The DSLR's photos are better in each example, in my opinion, but the iPhone 5 isn't far behind.  Even though the DSLR is better, I still can't justify carrying and risk losing or damaging my camera equipment anymore. 

Here are some pretty good shots I was able to get using the iPhone of different samples at the show:

 With super-fantastic online stores and blogs like photojojo that offer some pretty amazing phone accessories and even "phoneography" classes, I think the iPhone is definitely a formidable competitor when it comes to convention and trade show photography.  

(Just don't take your Christmas card photos with an iPhone.) 


Shelly Hickox said...

Fun to see my clock in your post! :) I totally agree - I'm even starting to use my phone to photograph my tutorials. It's just so much easier and, in my opinion, takes better photos than my 'real' camera! I just have a point and shoot, so I can't say how much better a DSLR would be. The other thing is there are so many apps out there that can make your iPhone pics really impressive.

Kaz said...

I have the iPhone 5 and use it for pretty much everything although I'm still learning with it, if you have any good photo apps please let me know! I use the over app a lot to water mark my photos straight away
I hope I can get to a cha would love to go x
Thanks for sharing Sara the photos look great x


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