So this year has been a very intensive year trying to balance both my photography career and the rental business. To be perfectly honest, yesterday was the first time I seriously shot since March of this year. This was the longest stretch I have not shot since 2006 and of course, all the new toys come out during this time… (life is so awesome with her timing, isn’t she?). Nikon D800 and Canon 5d Mark III all in my possession and I barely had time to fiddle with them… that is, until yesterday.

I have been shooting with iStock and Getty Images for the past 6 years and I have learned to shoot in a way that keeps me from getting those irritating rejection emails. Blah blah blah is usually what I see lol but they demand that the images be shot technically well. Doesn’t have to look good or even be marketable. They just want clean images (yes that is a strange concept isn’t it?).

The biggest demon of them all is…. NOISE! The misery of my life… I think I have spent a good portion of my life just cleaning and cleaning away artifacts… FML. Even as decent as the 5d II has been, anything past ISO400 has been a real challenge. (This also includes the 1ds III and any newer body APS-C sensors). The only acceptable camera for me was the Nikon D700 but the 12mp puts a stomp on selling XXXL sizes.

However, during yesterday’s shoot, I had to do what I never have done before shooting stock with a Canon… I shot ISO800! In the past, I avoided this at all costs because clean up in post could take 15-20mins alone for a single shot. Bringing up the ambient with higher ISO was never an option for me. My hope for shooting stock in low light with ISO past 1600 is like me trying to land on the moon. I can see it but I can never touch it… (somber cry). However with the newer technology, I am getting closer… If they can just give us 5 more stops of low ISO performance, I’ll soon be able to get some sleep

Well just today I touched up an image and the results are fantastic. I am a big fan of the noise levels at ISO800. It was very easy to clean up and the image held up very well with edits. I have to say that I am also impressed with the AiServo and its ease of changing direction and sensitivity. This was never an option on previous models.

For this shot, here are the specs: Canon 5d III with a 35L shot RAW, ISO 800, f/2.8, 1/400th, AF-On button, Ai Servo and High Burst shot handheld (Normally I am on a monopod). Light was a Paul C. Buff with Einstein and an extended reflector. Also an edited shot for final submission. Sorry about the annoying watermark but since the image is up for Royalty Free, it had to be done.

Behind the scenes shot by my assistant Andrew “LLoyd” Ng using the awesome old school Canon 1d IIn and 50mm 2.5 macro (awesome lens for the money!). *Note that yesterday was 103 degrees and I normally don’t wear teal tank tops

Also big thanks to Randy Cosio @ for the light assist!

Til the next post
Andrew Manley

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