...What's This?! Media
...What's This?! Media
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Write-ups about recent projects and experiences.

Photos, Videos, and iPhones

Headshot: Lloyd Bailey  Photo by Joe Grasso

Headshot: Lloyd Bailey

Photo by Joe Grasso

I love to flip-flop between photography and video projects. It keeps things fresh for me. While the characteristics and physics of light do not change across the two mediums, just about everything else does. 

In photography, you can usually get away with smaller crews, don't need to worry about sound, have more flexibility with camera settings, less data to save and backup, and the equipment costs a lot less. The caveat? You have to tell your entire story with that perfect single frame. 

Headshot: Evan Grasso  Photo by Joe Grasso

Headshot: Evan Grasso

Photo by Joe Grasso

I didn't give photography an honest shot until I bought my first smartphone. An iPhone 4s. I absolutely despised smartphones before I bought one. Actually, no. I still despise them. I despise how it detaches everyone (including myself) from what's right in front of them, despite how useful, and dare I say, necessary they are for modern living.

BUT they always had great cameras built into them! AND, you could edit/manipulate them immediately with the same device you just shot it with! For no extra money!

This was amazing! All of the sudden, just about everybody that could afford a smartphone had the ability to take beautiful, high-resolution photos! It leveled the playing field. Photography wasn't just for the pros anymore.

Hawk Mountain at sunset  Photo by Joe Grasso

Hawk Mountain at sunset

Photo by Joe Grasso

Anyway, after fooling around with iPhone photography for a bit, I remembered that my main video camera at the time was actually a stills camera at heart (Canon T2i). What a massive difference that made! The larger imaging sensor, ability to change lenses, increased resolution, and the ability to shoot raw files was an absolute game changer. This DSLR camera was capable of capturing so much more information than physics would ever allow an iPhone to capture. 


Dan's Pulpit  Photo by Joe Grasso

Dan's Pulpit

Photo by Joe Grasso

And so it was on. I started tackling still photography just as hard as video. I was able to use 90% of my video equipment to forge a parallel career in the photography world. All I needed was some flash guns and light modifiers so that I could control my lighting in a way that tells the story that I'm trying to tell. My continuous video lights aren't usually practical since they need AC power, are big, heavy, can be hot to the touch, and don't get nearly as bright for the fraction of a second that it takes to take a photo with your desired camera settings (unless of course, you're shooting a long exposure of the stars like the photo above. You don't use lights in that case). 

Moselem Springs  Photo by Joe Grasso

Moselem Springs

Photo by Joe Grasso

Have an interest in photography? Are you a video shooter, but want your compositions and lighting to get better without shooting a full-on production? Go out in the world, AND TAKE PHOTOS! Hell, you can even stay in your house, and take 10 minutes out of the 4.7 hours per day that you use your phone, and experiment with shooting different subjects and compositions. Edit them with free apps like Snapseed and VSCO, and learn how to pull more details and colors out while making the photo truly yours. If you have a newer iPhone or various other mobile phones, you can download free apps like MuseCam that let you shoot raw files for maximum latitude in your image processing.

Isolator Fitness  Photo by Joe Grasso

Isolator Fitness

Photo by Joe Grasso

Once you truly realize the limitations of these smartphone cameras, and desire to grow your photography to the next level, THEN maybe consider buying a (used) DSLR. Almost every single photo on this site can be reproduced with less than $1,000 worth of gear. If anyone has any questions about my kit or photography in general, hit me up because I love nerding out with this stuff!

With Love,

Joe Grasso



"The best camera is the one that's with you." – Chase Jarvis