Today, I welcome Rocco Basile of Rocco Basile Photography to talk shop about gear, getting the best shot, and love of photography. Basile, best known for photojournalism, also specializes in travel and portrait photography.
Q1. What kind of gear do you use?
Now, I shoot with Canon gear. I started out with a phone camera. My current favorite cameras I use at Rocco Basile Photography are the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR and the Canon EOS 6D Mark II DSLR. As for lenses, I favor the Canon EF 85mm f1.8 for portraits, which I specialize in shooting. You can pick it up for about $700 and it produces sharper and faster focus than its “big brother” the EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM.
Q2. What does “big brother” run?
About $3,000, so you get a productive bargain.
Q3. What else do you favor using?
I mostly stick with Canon for tripod, flashes, lights, and wireless remote controls. I like Vello timers, too. I’m getting into the fun of gels in studio shoots. I find color range experimentation exciting. I still love shooting in natural light though, too.
Q4. When you go on one of your travels, what all you take with you? Why?
I pack of all of my photography equipment and not much else. I read Tim Ferris awhile back. I find his attitude of pack light and buy what you need when you arrive handy. If I’m gone for a while, like a recent trip to Switzerland and Dublin, I really consider what I need to bring.
Q5. Was that “The 4-Hour Work Week” you read?
Yes. I guess you read it, too. [laughs]
Q6. I did. In the field, what are your settings?
Well, that depends on the subject, the lighting, weather conditions, and more. For studio portraits, I use baseline settings and work from there. Start with the lowest ISO setting to reduce digital noise. Set white balance to “Flash” mode. Shoot in “Manual” mode so you control shutter speed and aperture. Finally, shoot RAWs, not .jpg. RAW mode opens up your editing options. From there, you adjust by checking the histogram of the test shots. Every face is different, so you’ll need to adjust your settings, lights, reflectors for each subject.
Q7. Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
You just asked an impossible question. Each photo is like my child. I can tell you I really enjoy shooting black and white portraits or nature at sunrise, but to ask me to name one of my children, I find it impossible.
Q8. What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
How addictive it would become. My mom encouraged it as a hobby. Who knew it would become my career and calling?
Q9. Thank you, Rocco Basile, for talking to me today.
You’re welcome. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my true love.