Show #42–Sylvain Gentile – Wedding & Commercial

Host Mike Howard & Tim Kemperle (Kathleen Bowie had the night off) interview photographer Sylvain Gentile. Before the interview starts, the guys discuss some recent findings Mike made with his Nikon 70-200VR lens and using Back Button Focus.



  • We discussed at the end of our last podcast that using the back button focus on a camera may impact the vibration reduction on Nikon cameras.  Mike tested this out at a swim meet last week and using the shutter release at f/2.8 resulted in three to four times more usable photos.  The issue is the AF-ON button on Nikon bodies does not engage the vibration reduction motor.  However, once you hit the shutter button to take the photo the motor is engaged but does not have time to settle down and CAN result in reduced image quality.
  • The guys also talk about eh ExpoDisc.  Kathleen recently bought one and we await her report on the product next week.


Sylvain Gentile:

  • How long did it take you to develop a style?
    • This was something that definitely took time, a couple of years…as I shoot more my style developed be it lighting or post production.
  • How do you balance the look to prevent all photos from looking alike?
    • Look at a scene differently or try a different lens.  Favorite lens is the 70-200 and I shoot mainly at 200 for the depth of field at f/2.8 to separate the subject from the background.  This enables the background to compress and bring the item in the back closer…such as the Golden Gate Bridge
      Other equipment?  Nikon
      Shoot in RAW?  Yes
      How did you get started in Photography?
  • Shooting since 14 years old and learned from my father.
  • Shot friends wakeboarding (back of a boat or a chase boat) / snowboarding
  • Primary subject – weddings at around 35 a year ( 8 hours / day), average around 5,000 to 6,000 photos per wedding and edit the pictures in around 6-8 hours.
  • Image Review:
    – Couple on boat in water ( Alienbee overpowered sunset)
    – Wedding couple backlit with 1/8th power
    – Bride by a window..natural light backlighting bride
    – Bride and groom under umbrella
    – Bride and groom at sunset on a hill (fill flash with softbox)
    – Sitting woman smoking, tilt-shift lens affected the bottom of the photo (Music Shoot)
    – Black & White photo of couple under tree canopy (Adjusted in Lightroom)
  • Many weddings have photos of the bride and groom prior to the wedding which goes against tradition.
  • Next section – Composites
    – Man sitting in front of gas pumps, had the background and set the man up sitting
    – Man on railroad tracks facing the sun, train tracks shine brightly
    – Live show image of singer, SB800 on light stand on the other side of singer caused a halo around the singer
    – Little boy with dog and green apple


How much time does he spend scouting out locations…..

  • Whenever I am out and about I am looking for locations…jot down the location for future reference.  There are times when I will go out a week prior to the event for the specific location.
  • What settings do you use to upload your photos to make them so crisp online? Mine never look that sharp?
  • 72dpi, color profile sRGB


  • Sylvain said he uses in camera White balance (no expodisc or gray card) does he do auto WB or just chose WB setting settings depending on the shot/lighting.
  • Never use Auto White Balance…use one of the settings in the camera to warm up the image.  In studio I use the Flash WB setting.  Rarely use the Kelvin setting.
  • Since a lot of times clients are following trends, do you also follow trends or just stay with what works. In other words do you shoot for what the client wants or what you want?


  • Make it clear during the initial consultation…they already know how I shoot and I don’t get clients that try to lead me.



Future show calendar for jpeg2RAW



Sylvain Gentile



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About geephotant

geephotant (Geek-Photographer-Accountant) (aka. Mike Howard) is the creator of Nov Studios and the jpeg2RAW podcast. Mike is an accountant by day as the Controller for a large US based corporation. By night, he is a geek and has appeared on the Home Server Show Podcast & the BYOB podcast ( both found at He has also appeared on the Home Tech Show podcast ( and is now a regular guest on that show. Mike's true passion is photography and shoots when ever he can find time. As an amateur photographer, he is always looking to learn more about the craft.

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