Field Test: Hold Fast MoneyMaker Multi Camera Strap

Introducing...Camera Swagg! (Named after the designers' name Swaggart). This is the legendary MoneyMaker in a non-leather material. You asked for it and HoldFast has delivered!

You may already be aware and read the blog I did a while back on the really awesome multi camera straps by Hold Fast. But if you haven't heard of these guys before, they create the awesome MoneyMaker camera straps made from high grade leather and now cotton canvas, complete with metal d-rings, safety straps and a superb versatile design. Most importantly, the straps look the business, keep your cameras secure and feel comfortable even when you're shooting a 12-hour wedding. 

Camera Swagg is a line of products designed around non-leather materials with a focus on performance and value. You get the same beautiful MoneyMaker design, same hardware, but all made 100% Cotton Canvas, instead of leather. These are one size fits all, and they come with everything you need to shoot with two cameras, including a pair of Camera Holdfasts.


This Vegan friendly MoneyMaker means business. High grade Cotton Canvas, anchored metal d-rings, safety straps that connect to the side lug mount, completely bypassing the clip and screw for ultimate security and impeccably versatile design make this an essential tool for the modern photographer.

©LukeHolroydShareMe7.jpg

What actually is the MoneyMaker? Well it's a harness-like camera strap that goes over your shoulders and allows you to carry 2 camera bodies with lenses or you can even carry three camera bodies with some other attachments.  It's so much more than just an alternative to your standard DLSR camera strap and it certainly is a big contender when you compare the MoneyMaker to the range of Black Rapid straps or Camera Belts on offer. 

The Hold Fast MoneyMaker allows you to attach any camera and lens with a tripod mount to either side of the harness, what's more, the way the MoneyMaker holds the camera means they hang by your side and keep out of your way. I've spent the lats two years shooting weddings using the leather harness from Hold Fast with two Nikon DSLR's with a 24-70mm lens and a 70-200mm lens with no problems at all.  You can walk around freely and the cameras stay tucked into your side and they're ready for you when you need them, you never have to worry about picking up and putting down your cameras when you're on a shoot. 

©LukeHolroydShareMe3.jpg

Aside from the comfort and ease of using the MoneyMaker it's also very safe, the strap comes with two HoldFast screws that screw straight into your camera or lens tripod mount. Then you simply connect your camera onto your MoneyMaker and use the sailboat clips for extra safety. Seriously, I shot an 11 hour wedding using the MoneyMaker and didn't need to adjust or tighten anything the whole day, it's just perfect! 

You've probably heard me mention this before but I love honesty, I implement trust and honesty into every aspect of my businesses  so it's certainly something I look for when I'm the consumer. The MoneyMaker straps are made of premium cotton canvas and they look and feel durable. I've only field tested the MoneyMaker Cotton Canvas version on a few occasions so I can't say it will last a lifetime but it feels like it would. I've been shooting with my leather MoneyMaker for 2 years now and it still works and looks awesome. But if it doesn't last a lifetime, the guys at Hold Fast give you a lifetime guarantee with every MoneyMaker, they're that confident in their products! 

©LukeHolroydShareMe5.jpg

Speaking just solely wedding photography for a second, I seriously couldn't shoot a wedding without a MoneyMaker camera strap after using it on a few occasions. I no longer have to worry about leaving my second camera body around and I can easily swap between the two bodies and lenses within seconds. Secondly, it's comfy. In a nutshell I didn't feel like I was carrying two huge Nikon DSLR plus lenses around all day, perfect if you suffer with aches and pains. Thirdly, you would not believe how many wedding guests come up to you and compliment the MoneyMaker, not that I thrive on compliments but it's a fantastic conversation starter.

With a lifetime guarantee, the MoneyMaker is something you can look at as an investment, you're paying for a quality product, so yes the price is going to appear steeper than the most camera straps. The price varies dependant on your selection, there is a vast range of options, leathers and non-leathers Hold Fast offer but on average you're looking at $175. If you're a UK photographer, you can now purchase Holdfast gear from Rigu.co.uk

©LukeHolroydShareMe1.jpg

All in all, I would highly recommend the Hold Fast MoneyMaker and I'm chuffed that I got to test one for my first Field Test on the Creative Resources & Advice Blog. Here's a few points to take away:

  • You don't have to worry about keeping your second camera body insight as it's always right by your side.
  • You look the business and it's a great conversation starter. 
  • Comfortable to wear all day.
  • Easily swap between camera bodies and lenses.
  • Be prepared to spend a little for a great investment and product.  
  • Your MoneyMaker has a lifetime guarantee so there's no need to worry - not that it will ever break! 

Where to buy:  B&H have a huge stock of MoneyMakers, follow the link to have a look. For UK Photographers head over to Rigu.co.uk for a huge range. 


Field Test: Manfrotto Bumblebee-230 PL Review

Pretty stoked to get my hands on the new range of Manfrotto Bumblebee camera bag, anyone who knows anything about photography will know that the guys at Manfrotto produce some stella photography gear from Tripods to Lighting and Camera Bags. The Manfrotto Bumblebee-230 PL camera backpack is a professional camera bag which I personally use for my wedding photography and my travels. This carry-on pack* is built to keep your pro photo gear protected while providing long-wearing comfort. The signature design produced by Manfrotto safeguards a gripped DSLR body with 70-200/2.8 attached plus 10 lenses, or an attached 400/2.8 with 5 lenses, or a professional camcorder with its accessories. The “checkpoint-friendly”, designated laptop-only section also holds a 17” laptop for editing on the move.

Bumblebee230PL4.jpg

The bag can be divided into top and bottom compartments by closing the main zipper stopper, making gear quickly accessible from the top. Alternatively, the top section can be reserved for personal items. The unique AirSupport back & harness system not only distributes weight evenly on the shoulders, waist and hips but also maximizes breathability thanks to a suspended mesh panel. The load lifters, sternum straps, shoulder straps and waist belt are all fully adjustable in length to give you the utmost flexibility and comfort. The backpack’s water-repellent Rip-Stop nylon/polyester fabric, hollowed ITW Nexus buckles and Duraflex hardware make the pack both ultra-lightweight and strong enough to withstand the most intense use, ensuring long-term protection for large amounts of gear. The tuck-away NeverLose tripod connection is always ready to secure a variety of professional tripod sizes. Besides the external zip and stretchable pockets for accessories and a water bottle, there is also a lens pouch on the waist belt for super-quick and easy lens changing. This model comes with a DuoFace sun/rain cover, which provides extra protection in rough weather and reflects sunlight, keep gear cool and dry all day long.

*Check with your airline for current carry-on requirements.

Bumblebee230PL12.jpg

Camera Protection System

Manfrotto's CPS – Camera Protection System has been specifically engineered and laboratory tested to garantee the highest level of protection and shock resistance where it really counts. I use the Bumblebee backpack to transport my wedding gear from the office to each wedding destination. Although I generally keep the backpack in a secure place whilst I'm shooting weddings, I still need protection whilst driving and transporting my kit in and out of various venues. I use the backpack to it's full potential when I'm shooting Pre Wedding Shoots and out capturing my own personal photography, whether that's street photography or landscape photography. 

Bumblebee230PL9.jpg

Interchangeable Dividers

The dividers are a huge selling point for me, most pro photographers have an abundance of kit, and it won't all be needed on various shoots. I personally take different kit to weddings depending on the couple, the venue and of course the great British weather. The Bumblebee backpack allows you customise each compartment to easily fit to the exact size of the gear you're taking on a particular shoot. I often find myself packing gear for three or four days, during wedding season it's more often than not I can be shooting three weddings in a row. I not only need an abundance of kit, I also need backups, hard drives, chargers, Macbook and my Loupedeck. The Bumblebee-230 caters for all this and more! 

Bumblebee230PL3.jpg

External Tripod Connections

This bag comes with the option and proper connections to attach your tripod externally. Again, this is another fantastic reason the Bumblebee-230 caters for all genres of photography. Lugging a tripod around, when you've already got a ton of kit on your back isn't always a pleasant experience, but the Bumblebee-230 does offer a decent solution for this. If I'm totally honest, when I heard the backpack can hold a decent weighty tripod, I did imagine it would end up swinging around on your back and giving someone a nice whack, but it's really really good! It sits perfectly at the side of the backpack and with the advanced supports on the Bumblebee-230 it doesn't weigh you down on that particular side. I tend to carry monopods whilst shooting weddings and I can easily fit a couple without any problems. 

Bumblebee230PL10.jpg

UV Protection & Rain Protector

You also have the added piece of mind that the external rain protector has your back covered in extreme circumstances. On one side the protector protects your bag and gear from any crazy downpours. On the reverse you also have a silver side which will deflect direct sunshine and prevent your gear from overheating... unfortunately I haven't had much chance to field test this in the UK.. surprisingly! The Bumblebee-230's has come in use full during wet weather weddings, I always rock dual camera bodies on weddings. If the weather has taken a turn for the worst and I need to cover one, the 230 is large enough to just throw my bodies and lenses in and quickly throw the rain protector over... that's if you have a willing bride & groom to brave the rain! 

Bumblebee230PL5.jpg

Photo Plus Expo 2017 New York: Review

This year I was invited along by Loupedeck to the 2017 Photo Plus Expo in New York. A huge thank you to Loupedeck, Felix and Mikko for having me along to not only demonstrate their awesome editing console but also for the opportunity to come across the pond and work along side the awesome wedding photographer: Jere Satam ! 

©LukeHolroydShareMe1-5 s2.jpg

As the Photo Plus Expo 2017 in New York draws to a close, I look back at some of the exciting products, live demonstrations and seminars that I found most useful. This year’s show featured over 7 stages that gave advice & demonstrations for the beginners and professional photographers across the four days. One of the fantastic things about the Photo Plus Expo is the experience and knowledge available to everyone who walks through the Javits Convention Center doors, you can be anything from a wildlife photographer to a wedding photographer and there is something for everyone. 

With over 200 exhibitors at this year’s show there’s certainly plenty to look at, as a complete camera geek and my love for all things tech, I made sure I got hands on with as many new products as I could. With so much going on over the weekend, I thought it would be a great idea to share my favourite stands from this year’s show: 

Holdfast 

©Lukeholroyd1.jpg

To get the ball rolling, I'm starting with the really awesome multi camera straps by Hold Fast. If you haven't heard of these guys before, they create the awesome MoneyMaker camera straps made from high grade leather complete with metal d-rings, safety straps and a superb versatile design. Most importantly, the straps look the business, keep your cameras secure and feel comfortable even when you're shooting a 12-hour wedding.  

What actually is the MoneyMaker? Well it's a harness-like camera strap that goes over your shoulders and allows you to carry 2 camera bodies with lenses or you can even carry three camera bodies with some other attachments.  It's so much more than just an alternative to your standard DLSR camera strap and it certainly is a big contender when you compare the MoneyMaker to the range of Black Rapid straps or Camera Belts on offer. 

The Hold Fast MoneyMaker allows you to attach any camera and lens with a tripod mount to either side of the harness, what's more, the way the MoneyMaker holds the camera means they hang by your side and keep out of your way. I shot my last wedding using the strap from Hold Fast with two Nikon DSLR's with a 24-70mm lens and a 70-200mm lens with no problems at all.  You can walk around freely and the cameras stay tucked into your side and they're ready for you when you need them, you never have to worry about picking up and putting down your cameras when you're on a shoot. 

Loupedeck

©LukeHolroydShareMe3-2.jpg

Loupedeck is a photo editing console for adobe lightroom. It lets you be more creative, it makes your editing faster, it means you can focus more on your photo. Loupedeck system blew my socks off and if you're a wedding photographer.. in fact, if you're into any genre of photography, the Loupedeck is a game changer. I used it to edit a full wedding from start to finish, it not only halved my editing time, it made the experience of editing fun again. I was in my element editing with the Loupedeck, I was waking up early to start editing because my workflow had become so smooth and ergonomic... and they're not even paying me to say this, seriously! I could end the review here and just say get your hands on one, but if you need more persuading take a read here: Field Test Loupedeck

Nikon D850

©Lukeholroyd2.jpg

Welcome to full-frame FX splendour like you’ve never seen it before. From the studio to the remotest locations on earth.

The D850’s fast, ultra-high-resolution FX-format sensor uses 45.7 megapixels of effective resolution to deliver richly detailed 45.4 MP files. Print ultra-high-resolution images in ultra-large formats. Shoot true full-frame movies at 4K. The back-illuminated CMOS sensor has no optical low-pass filter and incorporates gapless on-chip micro-lenses as well as an anti-reflective coating. Incoming light reaches the photodiodes more efficiently so you get exceptional detail and incredible dynamic range. And the 153-point AF system, inherited from the D5, assures you of the pin-sharp focus and wide coverage you need for ultra-high-resolution full-frame images.

Performance is everything. When you pair ultra-high-resolution imaging power with the flexibility to shoot in any environment and adjust to any workflow—you excel. Creative flexibility. Stamina. Precision. The D850 doesn’t just perform—it takes perfection to a whole new level. You get uncompromised image performance whether you shoot RAW size Large, Medium, or Small. And both the camera and the optional MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack boast extensive weather sealing: you have the freedom to shoot for longer periods, anywhere. This is also the first DSLR ever to feature an in-camera focus-stacking mode for exceptionally sharp images with vast depth of field.

Instax 

©Lukeholroyd1-2.jpg

You're probably aware of my love affair with Instax, especially when it comes to my wedding photography. My photography is all about creating amazing photographs for couples, sure images with gorgeous light, tones, composition and mood certainly help along with a good DSLR or even a mirrorless camera. But ignoring all that good stuff for a minute, the most important thing comes down to creating awesome memories for the couple and their guests. My job as a wedding photographer isn't being good with my camera settings, although that is kind of needed, it's capturing those moments, moods and delivering that emotion through image making. 

So getting back to Instax, as a wedding photographer this is why I love the Fujifilm Instax range and why it never leaves my side during weddings. It allows me to create instant memories that couples and their guests will cherish.

If you're not aware of these super awesome cameras, then you've probably been living under a rock the last couple of years. The Fujifilm Instax Camera is a spin on the old instant photography cameras, providing instant prints from the camera body, let's be honest who doesn't love vintage & retro polaroids? The Instax range is a premium, fully-fledged camera design that sets itself apart from the "cute" image projected by its predecessors. Designed for a vintage look, they feature a variety of photography modes allowing more freedom, control and creativity in your photography.

The cameras also have a host of shooting modes, this is much more than a point & shoot camera, settings such Landscape, Macro, Party & Portrait modes allow you to take back some of that control the old school instant cameras lacked. You actually have some control over what image the camera creates and prints, with the added bonus of being able to under/over expose and choose whether the flash (which is brilliant) fires or not. 

Furthermore, the Instax range actually looks the part, their vintage look mean they can sit in your camera bag or around your neck with a DSLR and not look out of place. I take a Fuji Instax to 99% of the weddings I capture and I feel comfortable having it with me and I'm always conscious about looking proffesional at weddings! 

View their products: Click Here


Wedding Photography Welcome Package

In any business to consumer industry your relationships with your clients are hugely important to ensuring your business thrives, grows and becomes recommended to other customers. This couldn’t be more relevant in the photography industry especially in the wedding genre, couples who book wedding photographers not only want to fall in love with the photographs you capture but also feel comfortable in their decision of booking you. If you follow my photography and Creative Resources and Advice Blog closely, you will probably already be aware how much emphasis I place on client relationships and building a friendship with a couple before I capture their big day. After the initial chat/meeting in the lead up to a couple booking, which has already began to build that relationship, I then send out a welcome package. These packages have changed over the years with different formats, but they all serve a purpose not only to house all those official documents but reinforce their reasons for booking you and educating them on the way you approach your photography. Guess what, it doesn't stop there, if you design and produce a killer welcome package to send out to clients, they are more than likely going to show their friends and family and post a snap of the package on Instagram and Facebook. So, for all the photographers out there here’s some of the important information and branding styles I feature in my welcome packages and for all the brides and grooms to be who are just about to book, here’s a sneak preview of what will be dropping through your letter box. 

Branding

For all the photographers, if you're at the stage of creating your welcome package, you've probably already nailed your branding and your website looks the shizz. Branding is a fairly obvious one but it is a huge tool to create a fantastic first impression, whether that's through your website, social media accounts or in this case your welcome package. Keeping your branding consistent in both your online and printed marketing tools is essential to keep that trust and professionalism in your business. The welcome package is more often than not the first physical thing your clients will receive from you, so it's a huge importance not only to keep your branding consistent from the route they booked you through (Website & Social Media) but also that the package they receive screams quality and professionalism. First impressions count!  

Like your branding, the welcome package should reflect your style, approach and also you as a person. I often talk about how wedding photography is a very personal business, you and the clients both need to be at an understanding and create a friendship, so make sure you add your own personality to your package.  

Welcome Letter

As soon as a couple opens up the welcome package they’re greeted with a welcome note that firstly thanks them for booking, reassures them that they’ve made the right choice in booking and finally let’s them know you're looking forward to capturing their big day. As any wedding photographer I LOVE social media, so I always include a list of the accounts I am active on, 9 times out of 10 they have probably found my work through one social media channel but maybe not checked out my others, so I always like to promote where I upload my work and videos. 

Contract

Although I’m more about creating awesome photographs and growing relationships with clients, terms and conditions are an important part of my business and of course add more reassurance to the clients. I’m a straight forward kind of guy, in fact, that’s how my contract starts.. I don’t aim to confuse couples with hundreds of terms and conditions. Like my photography approach I try and keep it as relaxed as possible, I recommend you take some time to develop your contract so it is personal to you as the photographer but also the type of clients who will be booking you. If you need some more tips on what you should include, check out this blog post: 12 Terms to include in your Photography Conditions

Advertise Other Wedding Vendors

The great thing about the wedding industry is you get to meet other awesome and like minded wedding vendors and it’s more than likely they’re a similar style or feel to your portfolio.. after all, the weddings you generally meet these vendors were all booked by the same couples. If you’re like me you will build up relationships with these vendors and continue ‘networking’ with them after the wedding, so why not share these relationships with your potential and new clients? There’s many ways to include this in a welcome package, you can create a printed ‘preferred vendors’ list or just include their business cards in your package. I usually stay away from lists only because some of the wedding vendors I recommended can’t always travel as far as I can. So instead I include a small envelope that features the business cards and leaflets with all the recommended vendors, I can then tailor it to each specific client and their location. Be sure to communicate this gesture with the wedding vendors themselves, more than likely they will do the same for you in the future.   

Timeline of Events

Every wedding photographer loves an organised bride and groom, but if we’re being honest it's usually the bride who’s super organised and has everything planned for the wedding day. The more pre planning goes into a wedding the smoother the day will run, ensuring the time you need for the all important shots of the bride and groom doesn't get eaten into. I always include a timeline of events the couples should be thinking of from 12 months up until the day big day, each wedding is of course slightly different so the checklist is very broad but it certainly has has great feedback from the brides and grooms that have used it so far. Photographers; you can also use this checklist to market some of your products further, for example if you charge extra for pre wedding shoots and singing boards you can add this to thier checklist rather than emailing the clients to see if they want to book one. 

F.A.Q

I’m a firm believer that a ‘stupid question’ doesn't exist and as a wedding photographer it’s important to understand that yes, we spend our lives at weddings but the couples who book you probably are tying the knot for the first and last time, so they’re bound to have lots of questions. I include a generic F.A.Q sheet that answers some of the most popular questions couples ask me, but as I will continue to mention in this blog, each client and wedding is unique and there will be small details that the bride and groom to be will need to go over with you. Remember to promote the asking of questions, you can not only use your experienced knowledge and perspective to reassure them but you can also grow that confidence that they’ve booked the right photographer for them. We all love a stress free wedding! 

Pre-stamped Return Envelope

A very simple thing to include but I can reassure you that it's a necessity, always include a pre stamped envelope in your welcome package that also features your logo. In my packages I require the couple to return a completed and signed terms and conditions form. If you make the process of returning this simple for your clients, you can move forward quicker and as we all want to do.. get the boring paperwork out of the way. Finally, ensure you include the correct stamp or postage costs on the envelope, I would suggest visiting your nearest post office or delivery depot to ensure you are stamping the return envelope correctly to avoid any further fees on the return.


 Good luck creating your own welcome package and I would love to see your final results. If you need any further advice or tips don't hesitate to drop me a comment or email. If you want more business advice, I highly recommend checking out some of the resources below!