Roberts Raw!

› archive for ‘Educational’

Marc Lebryk

Sports Workshop Followup...

Last weekend was my third run at doing a Sports Photography Workshop for Roberts Camera's Education program. This time around we went and shot the NASL Indy Eleven soccer team, which was a blast! The class consisted of 7 people, and we started out talking things like autofocus, focal length, and even how pro sports can be very predictable as compared to amateur sports. In fact several of the attendees even commented that they started to see patterns in that whenever a ball was in the air, it was likely going to be a header. It was a ton of fun.


(Photo by Mike M at downshift photo, using a Nikon D600)

The attendees were also introduced to my friend Trevor who is the team photographer for the Indy Eleven. You can see Trevor's photos from that night here, in fact you can see almost the exact same moment above framed slightly differently in Trevor's shots as well). Trevor is easily the best soccer shooter I know, so it was awesome that he took a minute to say hello to everyone and give one or two words of wisdom before getting started.


(Photo by Bill H using a Nikon D800)

Equipment ranged all over for the workshop. There were some D800's, a D600, Canon 5D3's, at least one 70D and a D7000. Lenses all over the board too from rented 400mmF2.8's and Nikon 80-400mm lenses, to 70-300's and 70-200's with extenders. It was a really wide range of glass, skills and photographers which is always one of the best parts of the night because nobody sees the same shots the same ways, so getting a variety together to shoot always yields some awesome results!


(Photo by Mark W).

Overall I would say the workshop was a great success. Lots of photos for people to be proud of and that's great. Everybody seemed to have a great time, and even enjoyed experiencing lenses that a few had rented for the occasion. I even shot a few frames of the game, but I was shooting using a 400mmF2.8 and a 2x Extender because... well.... ok so I don't have a good reason but even I got to shoot a few frames!

Indianapolis Eleven(red) vs Carolina RailHawks(blue)

(Photo by Rob B at Senna Photo with a Canon 1Dx)

After the workshop everybody seemed happy and there it seems as though there is a large interest in having another workshop. I'll do them as long as people are interested, because I love it. There has been a request to see if we can get a football workshop together, which I would love to do honestly. In fact, it came up because I shot the Purdue vs Iowa game right before the workshop which meant that the photography scheduling gods were on my side as any number of things could have gone wrong and would have made my day miserable on the scheduling front. Instead, however I just had a 7 stories of stairs to get to the top of the Purdue Pressbox at one point in order to file my images because the elevator was shut down. Carrying 3 bodies and 5 lenses (including a 400F2.8) definitely even made me feel like I Played football the next day, but I digress. There is discussion of a football workshop for in the future and I really hope we can get it together, but we shall see. Keep your eyes opened here, and at the Roberts Camera Education page. Until then though. More soon.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Purdue(Nikon D4s, 250ISO, Nikon 400mmF2.8VR2 with TC14eII extender making 550mm. 1/1250@F4.5)

Marc Lebryk

Barrel Racing Recap....

Last weekend was a very exciting opportunity for workshop attendees, as well as myself as I held a sports photography workshop with Roberts Camera Education here in Indianapolis centered around Barrel Racing. What is barrel racing you ask? I'm glad you asked. Barrel racing is a rider attempting to take a horse in a clover leaf fashion around a set of barrels in the fastest time. What is a good time? Somewhere between 15 and 16 seconds at the level we were shooting, which was the National Barrel Horse Association State Show at the C Bar C Expo Center in Cloverdale Indiana.

_M4S9139(Nikon D4s, 11,400ISO, Nikon 400mmF2.8VR, 1/640th@F2.8)

Workshops like these can be really great, because they help lay the foundation for shooting any sport while in most cases gave them an opportunity to shoot something they are unlikely to photograph otherwise. The attendees at this workshop did a great job, and really showed that they took to heart what I said early on about filling the frame, composition, and timing. Sometimes when shooting sports you have to set up and just wait for the shot as you can't be everywhere at once. A lot of times when shooting on lights that's what you have to do as your lights sort of determine what you can and can't shoot when using them. Unfortunately I wasn't able to set up any lights for the workshoppers (or myself) to use at this event, but I could see some really cool possibilities that I think even my friend Andrew Hancock would have been pleased with. Andy is a great sports shooter and is big into shooting Horse racing and related events. Either way, despite the very dark lighting, the workshop attendees put their best lens forward (see what I did there?) and produced what I consider to be some outstanding results! As I did with my Hockey Workshop earlier this year, I requested the participants email me their favorite shot from the day by the following evening (in this case Sunday 6/29), and that's what the rest of this blog will be made from.


(Photo by Karl Zemlin taken with a Nikon D800E)

Low light didn't stop the workshop participants, but it did inspire them. Lots of questions about panning came about to go along with stopping the action in the low light and I am really impressed with the images that the participants have sent me for the purposes of this blog post. Some are action related, and others are detail oriented which is great considering it means that the participants did take the opportunity to walk around and see the sights!


(Photo by Rob Baker with a Canon 1DX)

The event is a great one to shoot as every few runs they pause to groom the track. Anybody I know who has ever covered a Kentucky derby has described it as 4 minutes of horse racing between 45 minutes of track grooming and this takes a similar pattern except the track is a lot smaller. It's great though because you essentially get a few minutes every few runs where you aren't missing anything to switch positions in an effort to try something new and the participants took full opportunity to look for every angle they could find.


(Photo by Deborah Shahadey with a Nikon D7000)

Overall I feel like the workshop was a success and it appears as though the after class Survey's concur. Unfortunately I didn't have all the images from everyone by the time of this writing on Sunday Evening, but that's ok as the images I do have in here are a good selection of what the class got in the low light of the arena. It's too bad we were only there for a few hours and not longer as it it really was a very neat event to shoot. If anyone here reading this was at or participating in the event and looking to order images, be sure to, check out the hired photographer's photo's from the event. The workshoppers were more involved with trying new things and shooting to know who they photographed or what run it might have been. Brent has got every run up on his website where you can order prints and a video of your Run. Thanks again to all the folks that came out to the workshop, and also thanks again to Roberts Camera for putting it together. Make sure you keep an eye on the Roberts Camera Education page for some very cool future events and workshops. More Soon.

Walt Kuhn

Photographing Your Fireworks

One of the centerpieces of summer here in Indy (and all over our great country) is the 4th of July celebrations! Most of us have the day off, we enjoy our families, our friends, and give thanks that we are blessed to live in such a great country. AND, we try desperately to capture the beautiful firework displays that cap off this great day. Here are a few tips to help you get some memorable photos…

Get to the location a bit early and try to collect information on the fireworks display, timing, set-up and from where the fireworks will be coming from. Find the right place with a nice foreground and background view to position yourself, and take a few test photos to get a feel of the focus. You will need to be quick in focusing, especially if the fireworks display is not going to last very long.

A regular lens will do when you’re taking fireworks photos, so if you’re new to photography and haven’t purchased a wide variety of lenses, don’t worry because the lens that your DSLR came with will be just fine. You don’t need a fast lens to shoot fireworks. Remember, you are shooting bright light of the fireworks trails, not the dark sky. Zoom lenses are more flexible & they make it easier to compose, so if you have a great all-in-one zoom lens, this is a nice option.

Tripod & Remote
A good quality tripod is a must for fireworks photography. The beauty of fireworks photography is in capturing the light trail or blur of the fireworks. To achieve that look, a long shutter speed (4-10 sec) is required. To keep the camera totally still & shake free for that long exposure a tripod will be very useful. Bulb mode is the best for fireworks photography. So, a remote release cable would also be very useful.

No Tripod?
However, if you don’t have a tripod with you, you can make do with something sturdy that you can brace the camera on. You will be shooting from a good distance from the actual fireworks display so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding something sturdy. The top of your car, or any other car, a steel railing or a fallen tree will do. Anything sturdy that you can use will work.
2011 IndyCar St Petersburg

Camera Settings
“Everything Manual is the key”.

Focus manually. One tip on setting your focus settings early is to pick an object about the same distance as the fireworks. This is why it is important to know exactly where the fireworks will be coming from. Once you have a good idea of the distance, you can set you focus to an object approximately the same distance. When the actual fireworks display starts, you will already have your camera focused.

For your exposure settings, it would be good to set aperture to f/8 to f/16.
Confused because you’ll be shooting in the dark? Don’t be because you may be shooting in the dark but your target will be pretty bright.

Best setting for fireworks photography is “Bulb”. To catch motion blur of fireworks 4 -10 sec long shutter speed produces the best result. For that “bulb” setting and a remote provides more control. Well, if you don't have a remote or cable release use your camera’s self-timer.

You will also want to use ISO 100 to keep down the noise as much as possible.  Fireworks photographs are great if taken without too much noise and an ISO setting of 100 keeps down that noise as much as possible.

Composition & Tips
Once you’ve taken the first shot, take a short moment to analyze the photo so you can adjust your settings accordingly. You will most likely have taken quite a number of shots on your first try so you can capture the burst and not just the rocket going up. Quickly move to the frame where you captured the burst and analyze it. Apply the rule of thirds if possible. Avoid too many bursts in a single frame. The early part of the display is the best for shooting fireworks. Later the sky becomes cloudy & hazy.

Fireworks photography is actually pretty simple, the only thing to really be aware of is to keep the camera very steady. Plan ahead so you can bring a tripod with you.

Extra Helpful Tools: Flashlight, extra battery (You'll be using your monitor a lot!), knowledge of the current wind direction (Fireworks drift according to the wind.)

And lastly: PATIENCE!!! Don't try and get as many images as you can. Regularly check your monitor to see the results you are getting and adjust your exposure accordingly. Quality over quantity. Remember to shorten your exposure on the grand finale, as there will be a lot more light with that than the earlier fireworks.

Good luck and enjoy!


Roberts Sponsors Winona School

Roberts Camera is proud to sponsor Winona School of Photography 2014 in Brown County, IN this June 22-25! Winona is an affiliate school of Professional Photographers of Indiana and Professional Photographers of America.

Winona School Indiana | The Winona Experience
2014 Instructors Dennis Hammon, Woody Walters, Bridget Harmon-Smith, Michele Gauger, Kevin Hudson & more!

Walt Kuhn

Roberts Education Photography Classes

Listed below are the upcoming photography classes for February and March:

Go to to sign up.


What other classes would you like to see as well???


Upcoming Advanced Classes:

February 12th

SPORTS WORKSHOP @ The FieldHouse in Fishers

Learn how to shoot indoor basketball. Stop getting blurry sports photos.

$59, 6:00 – 9:00pm


February 19th & February 26th (2 week Course)

COMPOSITION @ The Jewish Community Center
Learn the rules of creating a well composed photograph, and when to break them. $49, 6:00 – 8:00pm


February 20th & February 27th (2 week Course)

LOW-LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY @ The Arts Garden in Downtown Indy
Shoot after the sun goes down. Learn the techniques and equipment that you should utilize when shooting with very little light.
$69, 6:00 – 8:00pm


February 22nd

INDIANA ICE HOCKEY GAME @ Pan Am Plaza (vs. Under 18 USA Team)
Learn how a pro shoots a sporting event! This workshop will help you shoot ALL sports better and will give you behind the scenes experience in shooting pro events. Use arena strobes. Rental camera equipment available.
$139, Noon – 10:00pm


February 27th

Learn the ins and outs of starting your or running your own photo business. We will cover everything from taxes and insurance to marketing, licensing and billing!
$39, 6:00 – 8:00pm


MARCH 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th (4 week Course)

This four week class will cover the basics of utilizing studio lighting to enhance your studio portraits. This class is perfect for the beginner!
$99, 6:00pm – 8:00pmpage1image15208 page1image15368 page1image15528 page1image15688 page1image15848 page1image16008Upcoming FREE* Classes:

*Class is free with camera DSLR purchase and $30 without purchase

NIKON D3000/D3100/D5000/D5100/D5200

Learn how to operate your new Nikon camera! This introductory class will help you better understand the controls and capabilities of your new camera.

February 12th: The JCC, 6:00pm – 8:00pm March 3rd: The JCC, 6:00pm – 8:00pm


Learn how to operate your new Canon camera! This introductory class will help you better understand the controls and capabilities of your new camera.

MARCH 10: The JCC, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Upcoming ‘Fundamentals of Photography’ Classes (4 Week Course):

page2image6664 page2image6824 page2image6984


Carmel - Wednesdays Feb 5,12,19,26

Brownsburg -  Thursdays Feb 6,13,20,27

Broad Ripple - Mondays March 3,10,24,31

Brownsburg - TuesdaysMarch 4,11,18,25

Carmel - Wednesdays March 5,12,19,26

Downtown - Saturdays (Day classes) March 1,15,22,29

$125/each 4 week session


Upcoming Hands-On Workshop:

MARCH 8th or 9th


Photograph over 10,000 Sand-Hill cranes in Linton, IN with Sigma professional photographer and leading birding experts. Loaner equipment will be available as well as lots of door prizes! One day workshop (lunch is included). $149


2-Hour Private lessons also available
12 Instructors to choose from!


Hot! Deals!

Shooting Small with a BIG Impact.

If you're selling something on Ebay or Craigslist, the pictures can be the difference between someone passing through or stopping for a longer look.

The normal process for shooting these types of pictures is to setup a white or black sweep on a table, add some lighting on the sides, dial in your exposure and Bingo Bango you have a salable item in queue.  It works.  And if your shooting pictures of baby grand pianos or a Honda CB750 this is still an appropriate method.  However, most items posted for sale online are smaller than the family dog.  For those items you will want to use a light tent.  And the best news is that it is the EASIEST shooting scenario you have ever seen.  A light tent will drastically increase the quality of your product images.

If you have a bright, sunny day, a light tent on its own can be a powerful aid to making better pictures.  Unfortunately, I don't live in a tropical climate with eternal sunshine so adding lighting is a must for me.  In its simplest form, a light tent kit with constant lights is a valuable tool.  This kit is excellent for small subjects but generally requires the use of a tripod.

Look for these items to be our Hot Deals in the coming week!

We're always looking for those little extras in our shopping experience.  Want to hear the icing on the cake?  When you shop at Roberts, you learn at Roberts.  How's that for value?!

Hit the link to subscribe to our newsletter.  (Hint: It's how you're going to see our "Hot Deals")




Its Back to (Photography) School Time!

Now that kids are back in school and the semester is in full swing,  its time to schedule a class or two for yourselves.  Along with our regular event schedule of camera operational classes we offer beginner and advanced courses and fun photo walks!  The "City at Night" event w/ Jarrid Spicer is an opportunity to try your hand at night photography in downtown Indianapolis.   We have an introductory course to help you refine and improve the quality of your pictures.  If you're ready to take your lighting to the next level, take look at our Advanced Speedlight class with John Scott.   And last but not least, the always tough situation of "Low light and Fast Action" will be covered in an upcoming class.

Roberts is committed to an excellence in education.  Let us help you make your next great image.

Happy shooting and happy learning!


How To: Fireworks Pictures

It's been said that fireworks are beautiful in that they have to disappear.  I'm paraphrasing, of course, and, respectfully, I disagree.  I think it would be grand if they would stay for a little while.  Oh, wait....let's just take a picture and keep that memory forever.  What?! You don't know how to take pictures of fireworks?  Never fear.  I'll tell you.  It's actually quite a lot easier than you might imagine.

read more


Everything but the Kitchen Sink Lighting Class

We have locked in the dates for a new class.  A Guide to Understanding Light is a comprehensive and fundamental instruction in all things lighting.  This means everything from better understanding light that exists in a scene so you know how to make the most of it to breaking out the big studio strobes to completely engineering your own creative vision. 

Whether you are family shooter, hobbyist, amateur or pro, everyone will benefit from this course.  We will be using a variety of products in the second and third sessions including some of my favorite Westcott products from the Apollo line and the uLite series from the Photo Basics line.  The latter are some of the best entry level constant light kits currently available.  I just purchased the Apollo Orb with the Orb Grid for a lightweight on location portrait lighting system and absolutely love it.  

Come join us for three great evenings in April.

Jarrid Spicer

MINE IS BIGGER THAN YOURS! The myth of sensor size.



Hi friends! Today I want to address sensor sizes. With the new crop of inexpensive full frame cameras out like the Nikon D600 and the Canon 6d everyone wants to talk about sensors sizes. I want to attempt to clarify some miss conceptions about "bigger is always better". Does a bigger sensor give you better picture quality? The simple answer is sometimes. What I mean by that is in photography we almost never get anything without giving up something. So if we are going to have a bigger sensor we are going to have to have a bigger more expensive camera and bigger and more expensive lenses. We are probably going to gain better low light and better shadow and highlight detail. I say probably because a 6 year old full frame sensor might not be able to match image quality with a newer smaller sensor because the technology of sensor making changes constantly. On top of that what if your a bird photographer? If I am using a smaller sensor camera like the Nikon D7000 vs the full frame sensor like the Nikon D600 because the sensor is smaller in the D7000 I gain more magnification from my lenses. So if the 70-200mm f2.8 lenses is what I like to use, in order to get the same magnification with a D600 I would need a 300mm f2.8 lens, which will not zoom, is twice the size, and over twice the price. So now lets turn this debate around and argue for the full frame. What if I am shooting some extreme low light like weddings, or indoor sports like basketball, now a camera like a Canon 6d would shine. At higher ISO like 3200 the new full frame camera's are better than anything any of us have ever had before. In the old days of film (or with old timers like Jonathan) 800 ISO was considered fast, now on a regular basis I shoot well past 4000 ISO and have much better results. This allows me to hand hold in much more conditions than ever before. The full frame also excels in landscape photography. A landscape photographer usually wants as much detail as possible. The full frame has more dynamic range which means there will be less blown out highlights and less blocked up shadows. So we get much more natural looking pictures. As you can tell there is no perfect sensor size or perfect camera. As any good carpenter has multiple hammers, any good photographer will have multiple cameras. The only way to know for sure which cameras are perfect for you is to come on in to the store and try some out. The best thing going for us photographers today is all of the new cameras are amazing, it just depends on what you shoot and what you need.