Can a camera improve the way you work? Fashion and advertising photographer Daniel Gossmann certainly thinks so.
The new α7R IV, Gossmann says, has the perfect mix of technologies. Speed, accuracy, flexibility, and mobility come together to help him produce more intimate and engaging pictures. We joined him after he put the α7R IV to the test on a recent fashion shoot with model Jovana in Los Angeles.
Previously, I was working with the α7R III, and that’s an amazing camera,” he explains, “but the α7R IV has so many features and improvements that I wanted – and stuff I didn’t even expect. For starters, the autofocus system is just amazing with its Real-time Eye AF mode.” Building on the previous model’s AF performance, Real-time Eye AF uses AI-based object recognition to detect and track a subject, increasing accuracy and speed.
“So, on a shoot like the one with Jovana, where we are working fast, the Real-time Eye AF really comes into its own,” Daniel says. “It follows the eyes continuously, and if the subject turns, or the eyes are lost from view, it switches to track the face or the head instead.”
This isn’t just a benefit in getting sharp images, he explains, “it also makes the pictures better because I can then concentrate more on the composition rather than the technical details, and communicate more freely with the model.” Gossmann continues, “you simply don’t have to worry if you’ve got the focus right or not, because it’s always perfect, and you never have to find focus again, or break the flow of the shoot, so I can connect with the subject and use the camera with total freedom.”
Working quickly and efficiently with minimal, lightweight kit is something the α7R IV excels at, says Daniel, and this fits perfectly with a modern fashion and advertising photographer’s way of working.
“Speed and mobility is important on model shoots today,” he explains. “Life moves so much faster, so the camera needs to move faster, too. Five years ago, it was half a day for a shoot, but now it’s more like one or two hours maximum. And shooting in a place like LA means you’re always wanting to work quickly with smaller cameras and flashes in case you draw attention from the police who’ll want to see permits and you lose even more time!”
The α7R IV’s technologies really help you create those high quality images you need as quickly as possible,” he continues, “so for instance, the speed of the camera means you can shoot at 10fps,at the full resolution with AF and Auto Exposure if you want it, and that’s incredible because if the model is moving and turning you can just hold the shutter button, and you’ll still have every picture perfectly focused and exposed, and you just need to pick the best one in your edit.
Since every shot needs to be a winner, Daniel shoots using an external screen with the α7R IV. “In the past,” he explains, “I’d shoot with a computer on the set, but now I like to use a screen mounted on the camera, like the 5 inch Sony CLM-FHD5 monitor. The α7R IV’s LCD is great, but having an even bigger view means I can see much more detail – and detail is really important in editorial and fashion photography. So,” Daniel continues, “I’m always looking closely for things like lines or creases on the clothing, and correcting stuff if I spot it. With Sony’s mirrorless technology they connect perfectly, and it doesn’t slow down your shooting at all, like it can on a traditional DSLR.”
When you’re working with a high-resolution sensor like that in the 61 megapixel full-frame α7R IV, detail is something you come to rely on. And Daniel has already seen the benefit. It has added a new level of flexibility to his work, he says, “because you can crop like never before. That means I can shoot pictures with a little bit more space. And in editing, I can cut the picture however I need to. Sometimes customers like to see a certain part of the outfit, like the shoes, or details in stitching or the weave of the fabrics up close, so with this resolution you can crop right in and still have a high-resolution, hugely detailed file. And in the same way,” he continues, “you can shoot horizontally and then crop to a vertical image, or vice-versa, and you still have big 30MP files.”
For Daniel, the most important thing the α7R IV’s technologies bring however, is a better connection to subject. “I’m so confident in the camera, technically,” he says, “that I can concentrate on communicating with the model and building a connection, making more intimate and engaging pictures. And every good picture needs that.”
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