Photographing Burlesque With Brian Smith

Celebrity photographer Brian Smith has a great video online that describes his workflow when shooting burlesque dancers in Las Vegas. The video is an advertisement piece for X-Rite Color Checker calibration tool but Brian gives some really good advice on how he took his career from working at a newspaper to now shooting celebrity portraits. In this video, Brian is mainly shooting with just a Profoto Ringflash and a Sony A900, and the results look great. Anyone know how in the world he is using pocket wizards on top of the Sony? I thought Sony DSLRs used to have some funky hotshoe jack?

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icie's picture

When I use Sony DSLRs I use a simple hotshoe adapter which allows, if nothing else, triggering of the pocket wizard or radio trigger. Since the triggers are quite light, there is no fear of the adapter not being able to hold the weight or anything.

Bogdan Radu's picture

I see quite a few pro photogs lately using the Sony Alpha... makes me wonder why.. I mean.. I know the camera is just a tool.. but Sony Alpha? really?

Casper's picture

Bogdan, the A900 is a fine camera if you don't need high ISO performance and video. It's just a shame Sony is completely ignoring the professional users now and has it focus completely set to consumer dslr's and the NEX camera's.

Kristof's picture

It seems Brian uses the FA-HS1AM hot shoe adapter from Sony, there is also the FS-1100 from Minolta and a number of third party adapters.

Eric Gould's picture

Here's another interview with Brian I enjoyed. Fun tips.

Alex Boone's picture

Hey, as for him using the Pocket Wizards, if you go to 3:09 you will see he has an adapter, SONY FA-HS1AM Hot Shoe Adapter made by Sony. It's a neat little device, I believe Sony will be switching their hot shoe mount to the industry standard like Nikon and Canon's.

dsenf's picture

As you can see at around 1:15, he is using a hotshoe adapter with the Pocket Wizard. He seems to be using the Sony one called FA-HS1AM.

I'm glad to see some pros turning to Sony cameras, since I've got one too and don't see a reason why I shouldn't, really. Except for high ISO, as Casper already said.

Patrick Hall's picture

It's strange Sony makes the adapter themselves; why don't they just use the industry standard hotshoe? And as for the high ISO complaints, isn't this the same sensor in the D3/D3s/D700 cameras that put put Nikon back on the top for high ISO? Interesting how much difference the tweaking of a sensor can make.

jeffery's picture

Patrick, he is using the Sony FA-HS1AM hotshoe adapter.
Casper, I currently shoot a Sony a700 but I am going to change platforms due to the fact, as you said, Sony is concentrating on consumer bodies and the NEX platform.

Donnie Bell Design's picture

Great BTS, fun and entertaining. The pics look great too, I guess it shows there is life outside Canon and Nikon.

Mr Blah's picture

@ Patrick:

the physical sensor is one thing. The actual software that process data and makes the image is something completely diffent.

A guy from the university of Montreal (in quebec, Canada) devellopt a controler for telescope sensors that is actually 10 time less noisy than anything NASA could build. The only video i have are in french, but it goes to show that with the same technologie, indeed the tweeking does the difference.

P.S.: Don't dream about iso 1000000 in the next nikon just yet. The sensor was nitrous cooled! ;)

Mr Blah's picture

Here's there website, if you guys feel like ordering the most sensitive sensor on earth :

Dries Renglé's picture

@Casper: Pro's are not gonna change their complete system if sony brings out a fullframe pro camera. But consumers, starters and studens with a low budget will start with Sony. Soon Sony will bring out a fullframer and those starters and students will upgrade. Instead of relying on switchers they are just growing together with their buyers. Good aproach if you ask me... Sony has time to grow, and instead of trying to steal the customers from nikon and canon, they are focussing on the new generation...

Patrick Hall's picture

Sony's marketing is pretty smart actually. They are surpassing Nikon now in total sales in parts of the world including Europe I think. Sure very few pros use Sony, but few use Olympus and Fuji as well...I think if anyone can take away a piece of the pro market from Nikon and Canon it is Sony. I think only foolish or super rich photogs ever change systems, most of us arbitrarily pick a system initially and then simply invest in it over time.

Casper's picture

@Dries Renglé: Sony has pro-level full frame camera's, but they're not even close to the competition anymore, simply because they're old. I started with an A100. Switched to Canon because Sony didn't have something to compete with Canon 5D MkII while I really felt the need to grow in gear (and sensor size). It was a hard choice putting 3k of Sony gear in the closet, especially since I was still a student at the time. Sony stuck with the Full Frame A900 and it's budgetversion the A850, but never came with anything after that. The awesome top-level (crop) A700 has gone out of production, nothing came in its place. I waited for a year and a half before deciding I didn't want to wait anymore, last may. Now I am still building a Canon kit, while my Sony gear is in a box somewhere and rarely gets used. I "thank" Sony for that.

Patrick: they are surpassing Nikon on consumer level here in Europe and they will be a bigger player in the future, their NEX camera's have technology that could very well be used for the pro market. Sony indeed produced a lot of sensors for Nikon as you mentioned, so it's win-win for them. Fact is: the ISO performance doesn't even come close to Canon. I didn't compare to Nikon but online tests I read about a year ago suggest Nikon does a better job at surpressing noise.