The 5D Mark II is an exceptionally versatile camera, principally because you can shoot still images and video at high ISO settings in low-light scenes and get outstanding results. The low-light capabilities of the extended ISO range and Shooting modes for high-definition video make this camera a top choice for an unlimited range of assignments that may come your way.
The C modes on the 5D Mark II are very convenient because they allow you to set the camera in advance for the Shooting mode, exposure settings, Drive mode, and so on, that you anticipate you need. Plus, once you begin shooting the session, you can always tweak the settings on the fly. After you make a quick assessment of the lighting for the session, you can determine what ISO to set and then set a custom white balance, provided that the light remains constant over a series of shots, or use a preset white balance. A custom white balance takes less than a minute to set up, but it can save a ton of time during image-processing.
RAW capture mode is my preference, although JPEG or RAW+JPEG may be more appropriate if you need to immediately show an editor or art director images from an assignment. It's really important to have expectations and a good workflow set up in advance for editorial shooting. Arrange with the editor in advance as to how and when you'll transmit images from the shoot. If you're shooting RAW+JPEG, it's easy to upload the images from the shoot to a Web site for the client to pick images for processing. Then, you can process the RAW images that the editor selects from the proofs for final delivery.
Whether for stock or on editorial assignment, shoot with an eye to tell the story — the entire story. Very often, detail shots — as opposed to wider shots — highlight aspects of the story that convey the intimate moments that evoke emotion and resonate with editors and viewers. For this reason, I might bring along an EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM or an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens specifically to capture detail shots if I know there's potential for those kinds of images.
To get started in stock and editorial shooting, consider shooting local events that have a news edge. Photographing weather and the damage it can cause, political rallies, and the like can often lead to getting work from local newspapers and television stations that use still images from areas where they didn't have a news crew in place. Especially now with the capability to shoot high-definition video with the 5D Mark II, the market has expanded for photographers to editorially document any number of situations and happenings, from street fairs to severe weather damage.
It pays to remember that when shooting for either editorial or stock, editors look for clean, well-composed images with a strong storytelling component.
12.6 Photographing editorial assignments can often present lighting challenges. In this nightscape, the lighting was low, so I took advantage of the excellent low-noise performance of the 5D Mark II and set the ISO to 6400. ISO 6400, f/22, 20 sec., with an EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens.
12.7 Details are always a great way to highlight parts of a story, such as these hot-air balloon jets. ISO 100, f/4, 1/160 sec., with an EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens.
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Compared to film cameras, digital cameras are easy to use, fun and extremely versatile. Every day there’s more features being designed. Whether you have the cheapest model or a high end model, digital cameras can do an endless number of things. Let’s look at how to get the most out of your digital camera.