Backup, Backup, Backup

So yesterday I wrote about questions you need to ask your photographer at your initial client/photographer interview. Most of those questions revolved around backup and what backup contingencies the photographer had for your wedding day. But now for the tough question, what backup plan do YOU have? Let’s set the scene, your wedding was a huge success, you have received your images from your photographer and with the images you have a disc of digital files. What do you do? Most people will email a few around, post some to Facebook or Google+ then likely put the disc back into the drawer. Some will go a step further and copy them onto the computer, maybe into some photo management software like iPhoto or Picasa. But what is your backup plan? Don’t be fooled, those burnt DVD discs you have from your photographer have a real world life of around 6 months to a year.

This is not just for your wedding photographs it’s for all your photographs, all your important documents, your music library everything that is now stored on your computer. Are you prepared for that day that your pc won’t start or you don’t hear that start up chime from your Mac?

How are your images backed up?

I will not dwell on this too much I understand this after all is meant to be about wedding photography but I take backup very seriously. Computers fail, discs degrade and people lose important files all the time.

Backup can be very simple. If you have an Apple Macintosh you have backup software built in. Simply visit your local Officeworks or JB-HIFI and buy a 1 terabyte drive plug it in and let Time Machine do the rest. Windows PC’s also have built in backup software but to be honest my experience with it has been not very favourable. I would suggest one of the free utility’s from a third party such as Hinxsoft or Comodo Backup.

Having 1 backup is a start, but working with hard drives on a day to day basis I can tell you that they fail and quite often. I like to work by the rule unless my images exist in 3 different locations they don’t truly exist yet. So here’s how I work, I have my Mac Pro with drive dedicated purely for my image library, I have a second drive in the Mac Pro which is a backup of the first drive. I then have an offsite hard drive I bring home after every wedding, portrait session or whenever I done any shoot to update it.

My backup workflow is simple. I return from a wedding and import my memory cards into the computer. I don’t erase the cards yet but now I have 2 copies of the images, I don’t start work on the images until I have 3 copies. Once the import has finished I have a program called SuperDuper which then clones my primary photo drive to my backup drive, I also have this clone task automated to happen every night at midnight so any work I have done during the day is also backed up. I still do not erase the cards yet as I have my 3 copies but know I feel safe to start working on the images. Then within the following day or 2 I retrieve my offsite hard drive and do a final clone of the primary hard drive. I can now delete the cards and I have my 3 copies.

It may sound intense but these are people’s images and memories I am storing so as I said I take it very seriously. It also is quite simple to do and back up needs to be simple or people can’t be bothered with it.

Now I don’t expect too many people reading this to go to that length, I wish everyone would but in reality most people won’t. So what’s the minimum you can do to make your images safe and with little fuss. Well I have mentioned Apples Time machine, it works well and is simple to setup. And the Windows backup software is good as well. If you do not have an automated service like Time Machine then set a reminder on your calendar to do it once a week or once a month. Even if you did a backup once a month had your hard drive failed you have the potential to lose a few weeks’ worth of photos not everything. It’s a pain but is not a disaster.

The internet also offers some great backup services. 2 that spring to mind are Backblaze and Carbonite. These are services which copies your data to their backup servers. Both services cost $50 per year per computer and they run in the background so you don’t even have to think about it. But if your drive or computer fails you can easily login a restore from your back up.

So what would I suggest for people to do? I can think of 2 different plans of attack. First for both plans go and grab that cheap USB hard drive and start your backups today. Now depending on your budget you could grab another USDB drive and store it offsite, at your work or friends or familys place. Or instead of the second drive sign up with backblaze or carbonite. Offsite storage is the key to back up. Offsite backups protect you from fire, floods & theft. So if the worst happens and you are robbed, and they take your computer and your hard drive your images are safe on the duplicate drive off site or with the internet service such as the ones mentioned so when your insurance replaces the lost items you can restore knowing you have all your memories.

Its not just your weddings photos that need back up but all your photos.

One final note on backup, please do not forget your phone. Many of us them as our primary camera for a lot of things, but so few of us actually import the images. If you lose your phone, it gets stolen or needs to be replaced you have lost your images and videos you have taken. Please remember to plug it into your computer every month. Plug into and important your images then they too will be included in your backup plan.

Back is serious business for me. My backup plan ensures I never have to tell a bride I lost her images but what people do with the images once I hand them over is up to them. Please make sure you backup.


Again if you have any questions shoot me an email at

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And even better if you want to see more of our work head over to Warnock Imagery


6 questions to ask your photographer at your initial meeting

The client/photographer interview is a crucial meeting and one that you should be prepared for. I don’t mean to sound so ominous but you can bet you dollar the photographer has prepared even if that preparation is by conducting them previously. So why shouldn’t you be just as prepared? I can tell you that 1 in 15 couples that come to see us for the initial meeting have prepared in some way. The others visit us look at some images and then are more than happy with what they see and book us for their day. But this is your one time to test you photographer, so try to make them sweat a lot. I always enjoy seeing a bride to be coming in with a folder with notes and pages of documents, it means she has an idea of what she wants for the day and she is damn sure her service providers will provide it. Now the grooms they come along and sit; sometimes ask questions but more often than not they are here to make the bride to happy. Nothing wrong with that as long as one of you is asking the tough questions.

So as for the questions you should be asking, here are 6 big questions to get you started;

  1. Who owns the images?
  2. How long after the wedding will it be before the work is complete?
  3. What backup plan do you have if you’re sick?
  4. Do you have a backup plan for bad weather?
  5. How do you back up the wedding images and for how long?
  6. Do they have a finished wedding you can view?

As you can see a lot of these questions are about backup plans. This is very important, the images from the day will be some of the most important of your life so you need to know the photographer has contingences when things aren’t perfect.

Who owns your images? This is a big issue for me. Why would you spend $2000 to $3000 on a photographer only to have access to some prints? As the years go by and technology pushes us towards a digital world and away from the tangible one you want to have access to your images at all times in a high resolution format. Now some photographers may charge you extra to get a high resolution copy, that’s ok, the photographer has to put food on the table during the non-wedding season too. You just want to have the option of getting your images one way or another. Personally I include access to high resolution copies with all our packages because I feel it is your wedding day and these are your images.

Who owns your images?

Once the honeymoon is over and the visiting guests have left, the wedding tends to become a memory quite quickly and reality of normal life comes flooding back. Once you head back to work one of the first questions you will be asked is, “where are the photos?” Ask your photographer the question of time frames, it’s important to get your images back as soon as possible, but you also need to be aware that during that time the photographer may also be working on other weddings as well. As a generally rule of thumb I like to have a web gallery up for the couple at around the 2 week mark. This can sometimes be 3 weeks if it’s a busy time, but I also communicate that with the bride and groom on the wedding day so they are not waiting. I then like to have the printing, proof albums and discs ready at around 4 weeks. One last thing I like to do is on the night of the wedding, I get home I import the photographs and find one great image of the couple, I do a quick edit and e-mail it to them. That way they have a sample of what’s to come and something they can show off until they receive the rest of the work.

What does your photographer do if they are sick or injured? This is a big concern for couples, after all that planning you do not want to get a phone call the morning for your wedding to hear your photographer can’t make it. In your first meeting ask the photographer what their plan is? And while yes the likely answer is I don’t get sick, push them because everyone does at some stage. I am lucky working with Natalie I have a built in backup plan. I have to admit, I would have to be on my death bed not to attend a wedding. But I wasn’t always this lucky, 7 years ago when we started Warnock Imagery Natalie could take great shots but she simply wasn’t ready to shoot a wedding by herself. So I had a good friend who I had worked previously with who had also started doing weddings around that time as a backup and I was hers. If needed to, I could call her and she would cover for me. Now 7 years later I would have no problem sending Natalie if I was too sick to attend or even acting as the assistant on the day I was simply not up being the principle photographer. It’s an important question to ask and one I have only been asked twice in 7 years.

Does your intended photographer have a backup plan for bad weather? OK this one is unlikely here in Perth but it does happen. I wrote an article about here. But just to recap, if the weather is absolutely shocking what will the photographer do? Personally I do what I can on the day, some guest may not be able to make it back again. I bring the immediate family and VIP guest back to our studio where we can supply warm coffee and dry shelter and we at least get some lovely family shoots. I then offer the couple a post wedding shoot at the locations of their choice free of charge, after all the weather is just one thing you cannot control on your wedding day.

How long does the photograph store and backup your images? Weather you were able to negotiate a set of images or not what happens if in 2 years’ time you want one of your images? This is a good question to ask because it starts to involve the “behind the scenes” mechanics of photography. Ask the photographer what their backup plan is; if you don’t hear the term “offsite” ask about it. Without offsite backup your photos are not truly safe. You should also hear “multiple copies”. I like to work around the premise unless the image exists in 3 places at once it’s not backed up. If you are happy with what you hear then also ask for what time period. I state that I archive the images for 7 years, but in reality it’s longer. I will keep the hard disks active and looked after for 7 years but after that time I will not destroy them I will just keep in a draw; I just cannot guarantee images for longer than 7 years.

Image Backup

Finally, ask to see a finished wedding if possible. This is not always possible because the photographer may simply not have one waiting to be collected or they are trying to protect the couple’s privacy. But if you can it’s a great thing to see. A photographer’s folio is their visual resume, only the best images go into the folio. You will see many pictures of many different couples in many different locations. The locations will be perfect and the couples stunning, but what about the other images that didn’t make the folio? This is where seeing a fully finished wedding can be great. It allows you to see all the images that the couple gets from start to finish to give you a better picture of how your day will be recorded.


Again if you have any questions shoot me an email at

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Do you own your wedding photographs?

So here’s something a little more controversial, do you own your wedding photographs? For a lot of couples out there the answer is no. You have paid a lot of money most the time in the excess of $2000 and in some cases a lot higher and you don’t own your images, does that seem right to you?

I’m not going to come out and say who is right and wrong, many of today’s wedding and portrait photographers are just following an industry trend that was set many years ago and hasn’t really updated with today’s trends of sharing and viewing items online and on devices.

I can’t tell you how many times I see photographers using marketing tools such as Facebook or Google+ to post images of couple/family/new born etc with the tag line “Do not crop or alter our images in anyway” then with a big water mark across it, it kind of reminds me of a chef not allowing you to use salt and pepper on your meal you just paid for. Now if this was just to protect the client I could totally agree. I do this myself; all images I post on public forums have a watermark. This is to add in advertising as well as let everyone know that in this context of the post or update the image with the text do belong to me. However all my clients have access to full size high resolution unmarked images that they can do with as they please.

I know the arguments other photographers have and many of them are very valid. One which I complete agree on is the reproduction of the work. Photographers have spent many years learning their art. They fine tune there images on colour balanced monitor’s they have the “eye” and know how they would like their images to look. They have spent years developing relationships with printers and labs a like who they can convey how they want their images to look. And I can guarantee an image which the photographer has printed either themselves or at a lab will look better than any image the client prints at home of their personal printer or at the 1 hour minilab.

This too works for both the photographer and the client. The client gets the very best image they can have hanging on their wall, and when people visit they say “WOW, who took that photo?” On the other hand if a photographer is seen by the industry as a “shoot and burn” photographer there is the chance that you’re amazing wedding photograph is printed on a printer that just isn’t up to the task. The reaction from the guest is “Ohh who took that picture?” is not something that photographers want to be associated with.

It is something I have personally weighed up many times. Yes I want all my images to look the absolute best they can. But I also want my clients to have and own their images. As I mentioned in a previous article I come from time before digital cameras, when a lot of professional work other than portraits was shot on transparencies (Slide film). Having worked in as a both medical photographer and advertising photographer, the idea that you owned the work that you have just produced was laughable. Try telling any advertising house that the image you just shoot for their campaign is yours and they can’t have rights to it would have been impossible. And as for medical photography well it goes without saying that any image you create belongs to the hospital and is part of patient records and confidentiality. So why is it the case that the wedding and portrait industry have such tight control over your images?

I have been on the receiving end as well. In recent years we have taken our 2 young’s kids along to a studio to have nice family photographs. We actually wanted the 4 of us in the photographs and have a third party do it to try to help capture some images where the kids weren’t pulling up for dad as is the case now when they see me with the camera. We went to the studio had our 30 minute shoot; they made us coffee and 20 minutes later called us in to sit and view the images. The images where great, no doubt about that. It made me so happy that I had someone else shoot them so we could relax. Them the studio went on to go through the images which as a parent you love all of them. They then show you their price list which until this stage was still not available even though I had asked a few times. Then the horrible realisation sinks in. First this is the one and only time I will see these images unless I pay addition money for an extra viewing session before 6 weeks after 6 weeks the images are gone for good. Second the prices the studio where charging for a simple 10x8 was incredibly high, and third there was no option to have the images at a high resolution on a disc to keep.

It felt horrible. It’s such an emotional and dirty play. But it worked. Ok I would never visit such a tight lipped studio again, but I walked out having ordered over $900 of images which equalled 3 10x8 prints. The other 25 or 30 images of my kids, who were 1 and 3 at the time, I will not see again. It was after that experience I decided I will never keep a client’s images from them.

So how do I manage the make sure that my images are displayed the best they can be will ensuring my clients have high resolution images for their own use? All of the packages we offer at Warnock Imagery have a printed component. It some cases such as our cheapest package it is simply a 10x8 print and a photobook while in our most expensive package we have large canvas gallery prints and printing credit for more work to be done. I see this as a best of both world solutions. Our couples can still get their images printed themselves but at least they have a professionally printed item of some sort to hang on their wall.

It’s an important question to ask when you’re shopping for your wedding photographer; do we get a copy of the images? Please don’t let the photographer dictate to you, if you are told that they retain copyright and that a the image is theirs just remember their business doesn’t exists without you so go find a photographer that will give you want you want. But please also consider using the photographers knowledge and experience to have some images printed you won’t regret it.

Again if you have any questions shoot me an email at

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And even better if you want to see more of our work head over to Warnock Imagery


Engagement sessions why they are great

When shopping around for a wedding photographer, there are a number of things to consider; in what they offer; who they are; and if you like their work. But one thing which is becoming a bit of a standard offering for photographers now is an engagement session. Many couple didn’t even think about engagement photographs but here is why they are a great idea. Now when I am taking about engagement sessions, I am not taking about photographing your engagement party. An engagement session is a private portrait session with you and your loved one. The engagement session is second only to your wedding photography when it comes to uniqueness and personalization.

There are a number of reasons to have an engagement session. First it’s quite likely no matter how fit you are normally you have been putting in an extra special effort before your wedding day. Having professional photographs taken a month or 2 before can be a real confidence boost and reward to all the hard work you have put in.

The engagement photos also act as great stress relief. Weddings are big days to plan. It can be very draining organising all the little details that are required to bring your day together. Having 1 hour off with just ourselves with no work and no wedding planning can be a very welcome change to many couples. It is also a lot of fun.

With engagement sessions couple can use the opportunity to visit a location that just isn't possible during the wedding.

The engagement shoot can also act as a test run for the both of you. This works in a couple of ways, first it allows you to see how your photographer interacts with you on the job not just in there salesmen routine. For many couples it can be the first professional photo shoot together so it helps you interact with each other when being directed by a third party. And finally it gives you an opportunity to see your photographers real work not just the best pictures that they display when you visit them. While unlikely but possible, if you really didn’t like the work produced from your engagement session you might have enough time to find a different photographer to save your wedding day.

Another great reason for an engagement session is for location suggestions. Some couples may like to visit some locations the photographer has suggested for their engagement photos so they can really see what they turn out like before their big day. It’s also very probable that you have just too many locations or a location that is just too far to visit on your wedding day. The engagement session is a great way to have professional photographs in the locations that you just can’t get to on your wedding day.

A final reason for an engagement session is that some couples like to use these at the wedding. We have done several engagement photo sessions for couples only to turn up to the wedding reception to see large prints made of the session on the wedding day. It’s a great personal touch.

There are not lot things to keep in mind when planning an engagement shoot, after all it’s meant to be light-hearted and fun, but please consider your clothing choice. Whether it is an engagement shoot or a family session or any professional photography shoot for that matter keep you clothing simple. Some simple dos and don’ts – Do bring your

With engagement sessions choice elegant clothing that doesn't distract the viewer from the real subject

favourite outfits, if you feel nice in them you will like the photographs more; don’t wear things with large logos or that are distracting. Guys are the worst for this, sorry guys no surf shirts, band shirts, or funny shirts keep it simple and let you be the main attraction in the photograph. Try to stay away from strips, dots and lines etc. anything that will draw the viewer’s eye away from your face to what you are wearing. Try to complement each other in colour and simplicity. Clothing really is an area where something understand and elegant can go a long way to making exception photographs. Always take a couple of outfits and talk with your photographer about which would be best. And when all else fails simple white/black/grey t-shirts and jeans can be a great choice.

The engagement session can be very personal and a lovely memento to keep as a reminder for couple before they were married but it can also be more. Today’s weddings are often a coming together of 2 families. The engagement shoot can be a wonderful time to have all the family involved and get some lovely images of kids as well being themselves.

Engagement session can also include the family to make them even more special

When all said and done it is possible that you just don’t want the engagement session but it is part of your wedding package. See if your photographer will allow you to gift it to a family member. At the end of the day it’s just a portrait shoot. In the past we have had couples that give the portrait session to a sister with a new born and also to parents to have family session done. Your photographer should be fine with this but it is worth asking if you simply don’t want to use the time.

Engagement shoots are great fun and something I really recommend so defiantly think about it!

Again if you have any questions shoot me an email at

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5 Things to look for in your wedding photographer

Weddings are one of the biggest days of our lives. And with them come some of the most important and taxing planning you will likely do in your life. From flowers to the dress to photographs and cakes, every part of your big day needs to be arranged and only you have an idea of how you want your day to go.

Now I can’t really help you with the other aspects of planning your wedding but here are 5 vital things to look for in weddings photographers.

  1. Budget;
  2. Style;
  3. Experience;
  4. Flexibility;
  5. Personality.
Its important that people can relax and enjoy there day around their photography

It does not matter whether you want a small and discrete occasion for a close group of family and friends or if you want a huge affair, everyone has a budget in mind. When choosing your photographer make sure they are within your budget. I do something that not many photographers do here; I have a full list of prices and packages on my website Warnock Imagery. This allows all prospective couples to see our prices and decided whether or not we fall into their budget. I am a consumer like everyone else and I really dislike a service that needs me to contact the company for a quote. I just want to see if I can afford or justify the expense not be harassed but marketing people for the next 6 weeks.

Style; Is the photographers work a style that you like? Style is and should be one of the major decision makers for your choice, after budget. With digital photography so readily accessible today there are many, many photographers to choose from but many of them have graduated past bad photoshop actions to cover up bad photography. Just have a look through FaceBook. I may be a little bias but having started my photography work back in the dark ages of film I tend to believe less is more when it comes to stylized effects. Don’t get me wrong I do use them and there are wonderful photographers out there that use them exquisitely but I much prefer to stay clear of the “FaceBook” photographer trends and concentrate on good quality images. The other thing to beware is no matter what the price, if you simply do not like a photographer’s style nothing will change that. They could be one of the most expensive on your list and everyone raves about them but photography is very personal. Nothing will change your mind if you simply don’t like their work.

Experience; experience will normally go hand in hand with cost; normally the less experienced photographers will charge less. But even if your budget denotes that you need to look at cheaper service providers it is always good to ask the question, “How long have you been doing weddings?” Experience will give you an indication on many things both during and after the wedding has taken place. An experienced photographer will know how to handle people, both in posing and just in general interaction. Simple things as having any grandparents photographed first during the family photographs is so simple but also a simple thing to overlook. Experience will show through when the photographer is posing the bridal couple, do they look at all aspects even how the couples hands fall? And experience will give you piece of mind that your images will be ready in an appropriate timeframe after the wedding and that the photographer is using adequate methods of backing up your digital images in case of computer failure.

Flexibility; every wedding is unique so how flexible is your wedding photographer? Is the final product something you want? The wedding photographer needs to be flexible both during and after the day. Will they stay a little longer if the wedding runs longer then expected? Do they charge for that? What happens if I do not part of their advertised package? Can I get high resolution images? These are all questions the photographer should answer directly or indirectly in your initial client meeting. The way that we work is simple; we are there to photograph your day. If your day runs over by an hour we will still be there and no; you will not see extra charge, we will not walk out when your time is up and if you don’t want part of the package such as the engagement session or photobook we will remove that cost for you and yes we always supply our clients with high resolution images on a disc. Our packages at Warnock Imagery are a guide and one set to help our couple choose what they want.

Photoshop effects are there to add to an image to make it stronger, not hide mistakes

The last thing on my list is also the most – PERSONALITY. It is so important that you like your photographer as you are with them all day. You do not spend the day with your dressing maker or your florist or the cake maker but you spend a good portion of your wedding, which should be one of the biggest days of your life, with your photographer. So do not rush in, take your time and choose the right person for the job. It must be said that we are not rock stars although some of us may act like it, we are simply service providers. So if after the initial meeting you do not feel comfortable that your photographer will put your needs and the needs or your guest before their own then please do yourselves a favour and move onto the next name on your list.

Hopefully I have shed some light on some of the things you need to consider when choosing your wedding photographer, if anyone has any questions at all please free feel to ask me at

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New things to come....

Well to say that this blog has been shall we say forgotten could be a slight understatement, but that's not to say I have not wanted more from it.  There is a definite balance of time, resource and dedication required and I mostly have two out of three of those.  But over the last few months I have worked on the redesign and bringing items over from the old blog to this new one. I have plan for this so lets see if I can stick with it.

Starting today I hope to bring tips and techniques, software guides and reviews, books suggests and interviews and hopefully some really great images for everyone to see

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Jaime & Lee try the knot at Mindarie Marina: Warnock Imagery Perth Wedding Photography

Its really is a fun job that allows Nat & I to spend the day with a loving couple on whats most likely the happiest day of their life. Ok I know that might sound over the top and sales pitchy but its true. We get to see the nervous bride, the grooms first glimpse of his bride, the first kiss and all the happy family & friends that surround them on the day. It sure does beat the day job as a way to put food on the table. Recently we had the great please of photographing Jaime & Lee, who got married at Mindarie Marina here in Western Australia. Jamie & Lee took a risk planning a wedding in the middle of an Australian summer, but it worked out great for them. It wasn't too hot and the sky a little overcast. The day was perfect. After the ceremony and the family shots we escaped to a near by beach where we where able to get some great images of the newly weds.

The Kiss
Warnock Imagery: Perth Wedding Photography
Warnock Imagery: Perth Wedding Photography

Networking... Still the Most Important Tool To A Photographer

So many  things have changed over the last 10 years in Photography.  Film has almost completely disappeared, a computer has replaced the darkrooms, video cameras and SRL's have merged and phones are becoming many peoples choice for point and shoot cameras.  But like any business the one then that has not changed is networking. As a wedding photographer I actually do care about our clients.  I want them to get fantastic service and have a wonderful day. That is why on our websites affiliates page we only have service providers who we have worked with and have impressed us.  And one that really impresses us is a make-up artist, Jana-Maree.  Towards the end of last year I was asked by a work colleague to help his cousin who is a make-up artist wanting to do a shoot but had just lost her photographer.  Being one to jump at the chance to help someone and hopefully met new contacts I was very eager to help out.  I can tell you I am so glad I did.

Jana-Maree is a young make-up artist that is truly fantastic at what she does.  It was a great opertunity to work with her and soon Jana-Maree &  Warnock Imagery will be launching a new Maternity session that gives the mum to be a professional make-up and a portrait sitting.   I am also lucky to have a few more model shoots in the pipe line with Jana-Maree,  so we will be seeing more of her work.

If you are getting married or just need the services of a make-up artist for what ever reason please do yourself a favor and get in contact with Jana-Maree,

Gear Used: Nikon D700; Nikon 24-70mm F2.8; Multiple Nikon SB600; Edited in Aperture

Jana-Maree Makeup

Jana-Maree Makeup

Jana-Maree Makeup

Jana-Maree Makeup

Jana-Maree Makeup

Jana-Maree Makeup

Jana-Maree Makeup

Jana-Maree Makeup

Bridal Steps

This was taken at a recent wedding, I don't why but I just like the image. We had just finished some couple shots of the bride & groom and they were about to collect the flowers & exit the church.  To provide some interest I have used Aperture new blur adjustment brush to bring the focus the bouquet.

Gear used; Nikon D300, Nikon 50mm F1.4; edited in Aperture